I once saw charisma defined as- “the ability to transfer an emotion that the speaker has to his/her audience.” I thought it was a pretty good definition because it offers the chance that maybe, just maybe charisma is a skill that can be learned and used as a conscious strategy for all people seeking to influence, persuade, motivate and entertain.
It also hints that we are all charismatic, every single one of us, from the sulky teenager to the grumpy CEO. The teenager ruining a family dinner with his pout, floppy hair and monosyllabic responses to Grandma’s questions about school. The CEO deflating the joy at the annual ‘Town Hall Meeting’ when he snaps at a provocative question from one of the cynics at the sharp-end of the business who isn’t buying his suggestion that ‘everything’s rosy going forward’ and there’ll be ‘jam for everyone tomorrow’.
The schoolboy, the cynic and the CEO have all succeeded in changing the mood in the room by transferring their emotions (hormone fuelled loathing, battle-scarred dubiousness and tired-out intolerance) brilliantly to other people. Surely that is charisma? And if they can do it unconsciously, why can’t we do it too but consciously and carefully?