Developing “Charisma” and “Presence”

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane integrated research findings from social psychology and neuropsychology with principles of Emotional Intelligence and “Practical Buddhist Philosophy” in her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

She concluded that charismatic behaviors are based on managing internal state and beliefs through self-awareness to focus on others and “make them feel good.”

She found that “charisma” or “presence” is composed of:

•Presence – mindful attention, patient listening, avoiding interruption

•Power – appearance, clothing, occupy space, positive wording (avoid “don’t”), placebo effect

•Warmth – chin down, eye contact, Duchenne smile (mouth corners, eye corners), gratitude, compassion, appreciation – counteract “hedonic adaptation”

•Goodwill – wishing the other person well

•Empathy – understanding the other’s experience


•Compassion – a combination of empathy+goodwill

•Forgiveness of self and others

•Self-compassion – self-acceptance. Positively correlated with emotional resilience, sense of personal responsibility, accountability, sense of connectedness, life satisfaction, positive relationships with others, self-confidence, willingness to admit errors, low self-pity, low depression, low anxiety, improved immune system functioning

•”Metta” – loving kindness to self, others

Fox Cabane offered three “quick fixes” to increase your “charisma”:

•Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of your sentences (no “Valley Girl talk”…)
•Reduce the speed and rapidity of nodding
•Pause for two seconds before you speak

-*When you see a charismatic person in action, what behaviors and attitudes add to the interpersonal impact and appeal?

©Kathryn Welds


3 thoughts on “Developing “Charisma” and “Presence”

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