One way to infuse your business presentation with energy is to develop your business charisma.
Can there be such a thing? How might it differ from “regular” charisma?
Yes, there is such a thing as business charisma. And it differs not at all from our generally accepted expectations.
In fact, charisma is a quality accessible to everyone who determines to possess it.
Who would not want to acquire the qualities of personal magnetism, a seeming aura that radiates enthusiastic goodwill, a mesmerizing speaking style, and a kind of restrained hyper-kinetic internal fuel cell that you sense could move mountains if unleashed?
Business charisma is charisma in the service of a particular set of goals outside of the expected set of occupations usually associated with charisma – acting, television personalities, rock stars, flamboyant sports personalities, and effusive lecturers whose material seems more tractable to audience interest.
But Business Charisma?
Business Charisma – Yours for the Taking
The caddish among us might believe it oxymoronic for those of us in business to exude charisma. Or that it’s at least so rare as to be hailed as an outlier when it appears . . . read: Steve Jobs.
But . . . Business is the natural soil for charisma to grow and thrive. We have drama . . . conflict . . . power . . . wealth . . . empire . . . generosity . . . deception . . . good versus evil . . .
The great issues of the day often turn on business. And on its leaders.
Business charisma is yours for the taking, and you can do many things to develop your own charismatic style.
See this fine book by Olivia Fox Cabane, for instance.
“I’m just not comfortable doing that. It’s just not me.”
This is what passes for sage wisdom in some quarters in reaction to new ideas, new methods, different techniques, and sometimes just good advice.
What if we were to apply this to another field . . . say, sports?
Think of players with enormous potential.
Players with the raw material to become great, if they would apply themselves.
Look at the big offensive lineman, who could end up starting for the football team, perhaps even take his performance to the next level of competition.
So the coaching staff schedules his training regimen designed to turn that potential into high performance results. He responds:
“I’m just not comfortable with all these exercises. It’s just not me.”
You won’t hear that comment often in the locker room or on the battlefield, but we hear it all the time in other venues of life.
Hokum, yes . . .
I think you know that the future isn’t bright for the player or soldier or businessman with this kind of precious attitude.
Of course not.
Developing new skills, new abilities, new strengths is uncomfortable. It means changing our behavior in sometimes unfamiliar ways. And instead of meeting the challenge by training hard, we can find ourselves taking a short cut.
We redefine our goals to encompass what we already do, so that we no longer have to stretch or strive to meet the original tough goals. We may find ourselves redefining what it means to excel. We lower the bar so as to meet our lower expectations rather than strive to excel to achieve a lofty and worthy goal.
We move the goal posts closer.
Several years ago, I was delivering a lecture on how to develop charisma. A young woman, who was surely not a charismatic speaker offered this gem “What about people who have quiet charisma?”
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“I mean people who don’t exhibit these characteristics you’ve been talking about, but show a quiet charisma.”
Those characteristics that I had referred to are personal magnetism, an almost tangible aura that radiates enthusiastic goodwill, a mesmerizing speaking style, and hyper-kinetic energy.
This person expressed that she was extremely “uncomfortable” with the techniques that, in fact, would help her become more charismatic in delivering her presentations. But rather than experience that discomfort, she chose instead to appeal to me to redefine charisma to include her own behavior.
Unambitious Goals . . . and a Lower Bar
Her behavior, of course, was the exact opposite of charismatic. She wanted to move the goalposts closer. She wanted to lower the bar.
Oxymoronic “quiet charisma.” Charisma on the cheap. Easy charisma.
There’s no such thing.
I told her to do what she pleased. But what she described did not constitute charisma, and no amount of wishing or redefining would make it so.
To reach a worthy goal, we may have to step outside of what is sometimes called our “comfort zone.” I prefer to think of it as enlarging our comfort zone rather than stepping outside of it.
Any time we begin to rationalize and redefine our goals, it is time to pause and reflect. Are we selling ourselves short?
Are we fooling ourselves?
Are we telling ourselves that we possess “quiet charisma” instead of doing the hard work and practice necessary to achieve the real thing?
Think about it.