Episode 215: April 3, 2012
by Stever Robbins
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Charisma is powerful. Charismatic people walk into a room and conversation pauses. "Who is that?" people ask in hushed voices. Then they elect the person President, regardless of qualifications, and then spend the next decade wondering how they got into this mess (no, I'm not talking about the politician you're thinking of). For the charismatic person, however, it's an awesome deal. So awesome that I thought I wanted to get me some of that there charisma.
Fortunately, a friend sent along a copy of The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox. In it, Olivia shows what makes charisma happen, and how it can be learned.
One charisma key is staying calm, even when the stakes are high and you have great responsibility. Imagine a great, charismatic hero like Odysseus. There he is, setting off on his heroic quest. He stands straight and tall, staring off to sea, about to embark on his great destiny.
If he suddenly breaks into tears and starts bawling, "Who's going to look after my stuffed animals when I'm gone?" all that charisma would be gone in a second. In fact, he might be remembered not as charismatic, but as downright whiny. Here are 5 tips to help you boost your charisma factor:
Tip #1: Transfer Responsibility Mentally
The problem is that we're responsible adults. The more we're responsible for, the more some of us stress about those responsibilities. Stress shows in our body language, our bearing, and in our facial expressions. It kills our charisma almost instantly.
Unloading the stress of responsibility is quite easy using Olivia's simple visualization technique.
Step 1. Relax and close your eyes. See? We're off to an easy start.
Step 2. Inhale. Imagine drawing air in through the top of your head and exhaling with a slow, even breath. Let yourself relax as you exhale.
Step 3. Choose a kind, all-powerful deity. If you believe in God, Goddess, Zeus, Fate, the Universe, the Eternal IS, the Tao, or any other kind, all-powerful being, choose them. If you don't believe in one, make one up—your brain won't know the difference. My personal favorite benevolent deity is Hello Kitty.
Step 4. Visualize! Make a mental movie. Imagine lifting the weight of everything you're concerned about off your shoulders and putting it on the shoulders of Hello Kitty. She smiles and gently takes on the weight of your burdens, purring in the process.
Step 5. Relax. Feel the weight lifted from your shoulders, and feel gratitude towards Hello Kitty that she assumed your burden. You'll feel free.
As simple as this sounds, I've found it really works for me. This exercise reduces the stress of responsibility, freeing you to fulfill your duties with power and charisma, instead of fear and trembling.
Tip #2: Take Responsibility Physically
Keep in mind, however, that Hello Kitty helps those who help themselves. You're relaxed and resourceful, yet you still need to take action.
Odysseus did this exercise. Once relaxed and unburdened, he could retain his charisma, having given mental responsibility for his stuffed animals into Hello Kitty's gentle, loving claws. In his brain, he's calm and charismatic. In the real world, however, he's still the one who makes sure the stuffed animals are stored safely in a watertight room, carefully awaiting his return.
Tip #3: Boost Charisma Before Presenting Your Case
Where do you use this? Everywhere. When you're heading into your weekly staff meeting to present a case for why the company should take a risk on your product idea of edible writing implements, you need all the charisma you can get. It's true, the future of your job, your family's well-being, and the respect of little children everywhere hangs in the balance. But you can't let that weigh you down, or you'll botch the presentation. Quickly invoke Hello Kitty, transfer responsibility, and head into your meeting charismatic and powerful.
Tip #4: Boost Charisma Before Giving a Presentation
Charisma is super-important when giving presentations. Imagine if you were commanding a zombie army—er, if you were writing a musical about commanding a zombie army—and you stood up and in a squeaky little voice said, "Welcome, my zombie recruits! Ours will be the greatest zombie army ever." That would never fly. The recruits would shamble all over each other heading for the door.
Yes, the responsibility for taking over the entire world is immense. But you can deal. Hand off world domination responsibility to Hello Kitty, boost your charisma, and then step out to take command of your army, I mean, of your musical.
Tip #5: Boost Charisma Before Having a Difficult Conversation
One final place charisma is useful is when having a difficult conversation. For example, when telling someone about their "opportunities for improvement." Yeah, that means "failures." You may be stressing because you're taking emotional responsibility for that person's livelihood, and for how they'll take the news. Reduce your stress. Hand over the responsibility to Hello Kitty, and free yourself to deliver the news in a powerful yet supportive way. Give Hello Kitty the emotional baggage while you keep your attention on being there for the other person.
Charisma is a powerful tool that will boost how you appear in the world.
Transferring responsibility is only one of many, many charisma techniques Olivia Fox shares in her book. If you want to hear more, listen to an interview where Stever and Olivia go deeper. Visit http://GetItDoneGuy.com/olivia to listen to the interview about more secrets of charisma.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!