Let’s face it, in business dealings, charisma counts. A lot. And charisma is as much about body language and impression management as it is about issues and substance. I’ve seen many qualified people get passed over for promotion (or lose a sale or fail an interview) simply because they couldn’t project a sense of professional presence.
Max Weber, the father of sociology, first coined the term “charisma” to describe inspirational leaders. Originally from the Greek kharisma, meaning favor or divine gift, charisma has also been defined as “part confidence, part presence, and part sex appeal.” But however we define it, we know it when we see it. We call someone charismatic when they somehow compel us to embrace their vision—whether it’s corporate, social, or political. Nowhere is this more evident than in how people perceive you as a leader. So when I coach clients, I further define charisma as knowing how to present your best authentic self.
Whether you are interviewing for a job, pitching your idea to a venture capitalist, addressing an audience of employees, or presenting a new business strategy to the board of directors, you are the most charismatic when what you are feeling internally is perfectly aligned with what you’re verbally expressing. (At which point your body language automatically becomes congruent with your words.) That’s why leaders who don’t buy into an organizational change should never try to promote it, and why leaders who are speaking candidly about their deepest values are so amazingly convincing.
People also tend to follow charismatic leaders because they are perceived as confident and upbeat. And here you can see the power of the body/mind connection in action. You already know that the way you feel affects your body language. (If you are depressed,...
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