Super Power - Charisma - Book Notes from the Charisma Myth

Charisma is a tremendously potent super power, and Olivia Fox has written one of the best books on the topic full of actionable tips.  The Charisma Myth is a engaging read full of practical advice, please find below the most useful principles and quotes I took from the book


The equation that produces charisma is actually fairly simple. All you have to do is give the impression that you possess both high power and high warmth, since charismatic behaviors project a combination of these two qualities. 

Charisma has three essential components: presence, power, and warmth. - if you mentally embody these you will project Charisma

For the key skill of presence - listen attentively, refrain from interrupting and pause deliberately before responding

Be present - focus on the person you are with fully, and do if from mind through body

Be comfortable - life is good, let it show

Lower your voice, and slow down your response to other people take a moment to process what they say

Don't Interrupt

Use cognitive reappriasal to focus on the potential positives and go forth

Be genuine 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Use visualization - practice body language and situations

Focus on the other person - keep the spotlight on them - remember  Benjamin Disraeli’s genius was his ability to make whomever he was speaking with feel intelligent and fascinating

Match word choice to their interests

Listening is not “letting people talk until it’s my turn.”

Deliberate pause - after about two seconds, do you answer. The sequence goes like this: They finish their sentence Your face absorbs Your face reacts Then, and only then, you answer

KEY TAKEAWAYS Power, presence, and warmth are important for both charismatic speaking and charismatic listening. Great listening skills are key to communicating charismatic presence. Never interrupt people, and occasionally pause a second or two before you answer. People associate you with the feelings you produce in them. Avoid creating negative associations: don’t make them feel bad or wrong. Make people feel good, especially about themselves. Don’t try to impress them—let them impress you, and they will love you for it. Get graphic: use pictures, metaphors, and sensory-rich language to convey a compelling, charismatic message. Use as few words as possible, and deliver as much value as possible: entertainment, information, or good feelings. To emanate vocal power, use a slow, measured tempo; insert pauses between your sentences; and drop your intonation at the end. To emanate vocal warmth, you need to do only one thing: smile, or even just imagine smiling.

Mirror behavior with a short lag and maintain eye contact, a bit longer than feels comfortable

Be still and poised, fidgeting is low charisma low status, same with rapid nodding

A couple of interesting ideas and quotes

People don't like uncertainty - prefer negative diagonosis to move forward - uncertainty can push for premature decisions, take a breath and calm down

“Our brains are wired first to understand, then to believe, and last to disbelieve. Since disbelief requires additional cognitive effort, we get the physiological effects first. And, though this belief may last only a brief moment, it’s enough to produce an emotional and physical reassurance, which can change our thought patterns as well as help alleviate the uncomfortable feelings.”4 Our physiology responds to visuals well before cognitive disbelief kicks in. In addition, visuals short-circuit our cognitive circuits and go straight to our brain’s emotional levels.

In fact, if you notice the other person repeatedly agitating to speak, keep your sentences short and leave frequent pauses for them to jump in. People really do love to hear themselves talk. The more you let them speak, the more they will like you.Business guru Alan Weiss likes to say, “Logic makes people think. Emotion makes them act.” Which would you rather have? If you speak only to people’s logical mind, you’re missing half the playing field.

In some situations, the delivery of a message has a much greater impact than the message itself. For instance, the Harvard Business Review detailed research showing that when negative performance reviews were accompanied by positive body language, employees received them far better than they received positive reviews delivered with negative body language


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