Tag Archives: charisma

Non-Verbal Behaviors that Signal “Charisma”

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane defines charismatic behaviors as managing internal states and beliefs through self-awareness, emotional self-management to focus on others and “make them feel good,” in her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism.

She identified four types of “charisma:”

o Focus: Presence, listening intently, confidence
o Visionary: Belief, confidence, inspires others
o Kindness: Warmth, confidence, eye contact, compassion/self-compassion, gratitude, goodwill, enable others to feel important and heard through asking open-ended questions, redirecting focus to other with question about opinion
o Authority: Power, status, confidence, appearance/clothing, “take up space” posture, reduce number of non-verbal reassurances (nodding)

Her book considers three key contributors to “charisma”:

o Presence – mindful attention, patient listening, avoiding interruption

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

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

In an interview, Fox Cabane offered three “quick fixes” to amplify perceived “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

She offered a number of self-management and communication tips, including a review of Cognitive Behavior Modification practices:

o Destigmatize Discomfort-Dedramatize
o Neutralize Negativity by disputing thoughts
o Rewrite Reality with cognitive reappraisal-reframing

Other reminders include:

• Increasing resilience by expanding the personal “comfort zone”
• Employing mental rehearsal through visualization
• Adopting equanimity, “radical acceptance”, calm
• Increasing impressions of similarity by increasing subtle mirroring of phrases, posture, gestures (such as handshake)
.Investigating appropriate attire, match level of formality/informality
o Delivering value: entertainment, information, good feeling
o Inhaling through nose to avoid anxious, breathless sound
o Using as few words as possible; be succinct; illustrate with imagery, metaphor, analogy, story, compelling statistics relevant to the listener
o Expressing appreciation for specific help, influence; identify positive impact, and context in which it came to mind
o Avoiding verbal “distractors”: “um”, “ah”, “you know”
o Breathing to avoid self-generated anxiety: ”Pause-Breathe-Slow Down”

-*Which elements of Power, Presence, and Warmth have you observed among the most “charismatic” people you know?

©Kathryn Welds

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

•Altruism

•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