Can you learn how to be charismatic?
If we aren’t naturally charismatic, then there are two other ways in which we can gain confidence, says Ben Paul. Some people you can’t help staring at, or indeed hanging off their every single word. We’ve all come across people in business as well as those celebrities and politicians who have that almost indefinable quality […]
If we aren’t naturally charismatic, then there are two other ways in which we can gain confidence, says Ben Paul.
Some people you can’t help staring at, or indeed hanging off their every single word. We’ve all come across people in business as well as those celebrities and politicians who have that almost indefinable quality termed ‘charisma’. It is a powerful tool to have in the business world – so can you learn to be charismatic?
The answer is a true Kiwi-ism “Yeah-Nah”. ‘Yeah’, in the sense that you can learn skills that allow you to present with such great impact, but ‘Nah’, as charisma in its truest form is something you’re either born with or not.
While we can’t make ourselves charismatic, we can learn how to carry conversations in a way which is even more powerful. It starts with understanding where we get our confidence from.
What’s your comfort blanket?
If we aren’t naturally charismatic, then there are two other ways in which we can gain confidence. In effect these are our comfort blankets.
1. Authority – This is the most common source of personal comfort. Authority is when you get your confidence from your personal expertise. Those things you know, and know well. We are all confident in talking about the things we know and enjoy conversations in these areas.
There is however, a main drawback to this. If you get your confidence from the things you know, you are likely to be uncomfortable or fearful of being in any situation or conversation on a topic that you don’t know anything about. In a business development sense, this means you’re very unlikely to have an open conversation with your clients or prospects. Which also means that you’ll be fearful or meeting with CEO’s, MD’s or those who are part of running a business. You’d much rather talk to a “technical” buyer. i.e. If you sell IT kit then you’ll be most comfortable talking to the IT manager. While this is normal, it isn’t the best way build relationships at the top level. As technical buyers buy on your technical competence and run a budget not a business, they are less likely to forgive any mistakes and much more likely to buy on price.
2. Impact – Is a really powerful way of being comfortable in your business interactions and sometimes, when done well, people confuse it with charisma! This is when you get your confidence from great structure, and great questions. You gain confidence in being able to ask questions on areas that you may not be expert on, but with the intention of helping the other person along with their thinking. Get this right and it is possible to have a conversation with anyone.
The good news about “impact” is that it can be learnt or taught. Like anything, it gets better with practice. Impact gives you great structure in your presentations or within your meetings. It also makes the other person very comfortable in the conversation, which is a massive step in helping you build rapport with them. Which is why, in the long run, it’s much more powerful than charisma.
“Charisma will sustain a relationship only in the way that strong coffee first thing in the morning will sustain a career.” – Elliot Perlman.
The above quote is great news, because if you want to build a career where you build great business relationships then you can indeed learn how to present with impact.
Ben Paul is director-New Zealand of The Business of Trust. To learn more about The Business Of Trust and how they can help you present with impact, either contact Ben Paul directly, or download a copy of his Sales Meeting Planner Template.