Book: The Charisma Myth

charisma myth I quite enjoyed The Charisma Myth (Amazon), although I’m not sure how much more Charismatic I managed to become from reading it!

Charisma is behaviour (not personality!) that can be learned. Marilyn Monroe could turn charisma on and off.

A young woman went to dinner with William Gladstone and separately also with Benjamin Disraeli. She said she left dinner with Gladstone thinking he was the cleverest person in England. Disraeli made her feel like the cleverest person in England. Disraeli won the election.

Quick tips for increasing charisma

  • Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of sentences.
  • Reduce how quickly and how often you nod.
  • Pause for a full 2 seconds before you speak.

Being present shows in interactions. Charisma comes from internal mental state, not external. People can tell (from micro expressions) if you are faking it.

Transfer technique. Imagine passing off problem to something else. This can be surprisingly effective, because initial reaction to everything is “what if this were true?”

Managing negative thoughts. First, it’s normal to have them, we shouldn’t berate ourselves for it! Try not to fixate on them; see them like graffiti on the street. Don’t assume thoughts are accurate. Depersonalise. This is like The Happiness Trap book.

Warmth. This comes from feeling goodwill towards others, but also from practising self compassion towards ourselves.

Power, presence and warmth are important for charismatic speaking and listening.

Great listening skills are key to communicating charismatic presence.

Never interrupt people and occasionally pause for a second or two before you answer.

People associate you with the feelings you produce in them. Avoid creating negative associations: don’t make them feel bad, or wrong.

Make people feel good, especially about themselves. Don’t try to impress them – let them impress you, and they will love you for it.

Use visual metaphors, they are more memorable.

Use as few words as possible, and deliver as much value as possible: entertainment, information, or good feelings.

To emanate vocal power, use a slow, measured tempo. Insert pauses between your sentences, and drop your intonation at the end.

To emanate vocal warmth just smile, or imagine smiling.

We react more to how something is said than what is said, especially in high stakes situations.

Approach difficult people individually, tailor charisma style to each person.

Express appreciation for help or positive impact. Help them to rationalise action in your favour.

When delivering bad news, get into a state of compassion. Show warmth and care in your timing, body language, verbal language.

When delivering criticism, get into a state of goodwill and focus on behaviours rather than personal traits. Don’t use don’t do.

When delivering apologies, show presence in hearing them out completely, show warmth in apology. Power to correct or prevent reoccurs helps.

On the phone it is necessary to work harder to be present.

When writing emails, remove extra words. Look for I rather than you. Start with you.

3 replies on “Book: The Charisma Myth”

[…] I am naturally a warm person, but as an interviewer I try to do my best impression of one. I found The Charisma Myth helpful for articulating what this means, but essentially it’s about being in a state of […]

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