I once saw charisma defined as- “the ability to transfer an emotion that the speaker has to his audience.” I thought it was a pretty good definition too because it covers all of the angles that you might need, positive and negative. Let’s think about Gordon Brown for a moment. Gordon must be charismatic by this definition as I think he’s absolutely able to transfer his feelings and emotions to his audience. He’s brilliant at it. Every time I’ve seen him speak he’s done that to me. Whatever I’ve been feeling at the start of his oration, I’ve felt a mixture of frustration, resentment and barely controlled contempt by the end. Brilliant.
I don’t use the UK Prime Minister (Until May 2010, probably) as an example to be cruel to him. There’s a lot of his skills and intellect that I envy and admire, it’s just that in presentation terms he’s very charismatic in a negative way. Bet your life that at home he laughs, cries, takes the mickey out of himself, is thoughtful, kind and sincere. It’s just that he’s not well practisd in the art of doing that in public, of communicating his charisma in a positive way. I think I know the reason why. My guess is that GB doesn’t like the job he’s spent his whole political life woking for. So actually he’s communicating truthfully all of his emotions about the state he, and we, are in.
Charisma starts with how you feel about you and the place you’re in, and many consultants don’t care too much for themselves and even less for their clients as human beings, that’s the problem. They’re going through the motions to earn money, they’re not loving it and living for it and it’s easy to fake for a day or two, but really hard to fake over te years.