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Attract others and stand out: master the art of charisma
Imagine entering a room, and impact everyone by your presence. People immediately notice your magnetism; they appreciate you, they trust you, they want to be guided by you.
This is the effect of the charismatic people: they impact their entourage, they impel new projects, they change the world.
Charisma is not a gift of birth. It is a skill that everyone can learn and refine with practice. Olivia Fox Cabane has made the art of charisma her passion and her career. In her book “The Demystified Charisma” she shares the best tools to develop her personal charisma.
In your interactions with others, increasing your charisma can greatly impact your leadership abilities: research shows that people who follow a charismatic leader are more successful, find deeper meaning in their work, and have more confidence in their leader.
Charismatic behavior consists of 3 essential elements:
- and cordiality.
These 3 factors are conveyed by our appearance and our body language much more than by the words we use. We can influence our charism both by conscious and unconscious behaviors.
To think of being able to influence one’s charisma only by conscious gestures is a mistake: the unconscious signals are very numerous, and any incoherence between the conscious and unconscious expressions (very visible by the people who look at us), destroys the charisma.
Rather, we must aim for the development of good mental state: in this way the alignment between our body language, our words and our behavior is assured.
1 The presence
Presence represents the degree of attention to the present moment. It happens regularly in our interactions with others to be distracted, to have several things that cross our mind during our conversation. Even if we think of being able to pretend and hide our distraction, very small aspects of our body language (like furtive movements of the eyes), are immediately perceived by our interlocutor, even if in an unconscious way.
If staying true to each other is not always easy, developing this skill has a powerful effect on our charisma.
This is a simple exercise to practice presence: sit in a quiet place, and for a minute close your eyes. Help yourself with a stopwatch. During this minute, you can:
Listen carefully to each sound around you, without interpretation, just listening.
Focusing on your breathing, on the sensations of your nostrils or your lungs when the air comes in and out; try to notice everything that happens with each breath.
Pay attention to the sensations of your toes, which requires you to connect to your bodily sensations.
If during a conversation you realize that you are distracted, for a few seconds focus your attention on the sounds, the breathing or the toes, and right after on your interlocutor.
With this simple exercise, others will quickly perceive the strengthening of your presence and your charisma.
2 The power
Power represents the degree to which we are perceived as capable of affecting the world around us, by our influence, our social status, our expertise, our intelligence … Because of the consequences of life or death that could have social relations in primitive societies, in the very first seconds that we meet someone, we unconsciously evaluate their social position vis-à-vis us: is it or is it above or below me?
The impression of power we transmit depends primarily on our physical appearance and our body language.
Here are 2 tips to increase our power:
by our dress style: while adapting to the context in which we find ourselves (the open space of a start-up is not the same thing as a meeting between bankers), we can increase our power by choosing elegant clothes
by our posture: the image of self-confidence perceived by others is directly related to the occupation of physical space. You can practice walking in the street: like a gorilla that protects its territory, occupy as much space as possible. Stand upright and inflate your stomach, do not change direction to avoid others: force others to leave you there. You will see that they will dodge without paying attention.
3 The cordiality :
The cordiality simply is the goodwill towards the others. It tells us whether or not people will want to use the power they have in our favor.
Someone powerful but not cordial can impress without being perceived as charismatic. Conversely, someone cordial but without power can be perceived as being pleasant, but not necessarily charismatic.
You can develop your cordiality in three steps:
The first is gratitude, which allows us to appreciate everything we already have in our life; to do this, now scan your body and your environment and identify 3 of your abilities and 3 things around you that you enjoy.
The second is compassion, which is to wish others good; to do this, identify 3 things you like about the person you want to be caring for. Imagine their past and present, try to see the world through their eyes.
The third is compassion towards oneself, which does not mean at all self-pity, quite the contrary! It means being benevolent towards oneself and recognizing one’s mistakes without giving in to a fierce self-criticism. For that, put in writing 5 things that you already do when you face difficult times.
Many other approaches to charisma are possible, but the association of presence, power and cordiality is one of the most effective frameworks.
The 4 styles of charisma
According to the different possible combinations of these 3 elements, it is possible to identify 4 different styles of charisma:
The focus: this style is strongly based on the presence, it is quite easy to reach but still very powerful. When he is deployed, he helps others to feel listened to, understood. His expression goes especially through the eyes. If it is not accompanied by a minimum of power and cordiality, it can become too intense or questioning. Examples of this charism are Gandhi and Bill Gates.
The visionary: this style is based on conviction, and inspires creativity and collaboration within a group. When he is deployed, he helps others to feel certain, inspired. His expression goes particularly through his voice. Without a minimum of vulnerability, he may become overzealous or inspire fanaticism. Examples of this charism are Joan of Arc or Martin Luther King.
Kindness: this style is based on attention to others. When deployed, it allows the creation of emotional links and a security zone. His expression is mainly through the voice and the eyes. Without sufficient trust, it can lead to too much attachment and may be inappropriate in a business context. Examples of this charism are the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa.
Authority: This style is based primarily on trust, and projects a high social status and a strong ability to impact or influence others. His expression begins with physical appearance and behavior. Without enough cordiality, it may seem arrogant and may inhibit critical thinking. Examples of this charism are Winston Churchill and Michael Jordan.
Depending on your personality, your goals and the context in which you find yourself, there will probably be a more appropriate style of charisma than others. You can learn to evaluate them and choose the one you want to use.
You now know that you can learn and practice these behaviors. Experimenting with these elements will allow you to access different parts of your personality, to better express qualities that you already have.
The number of tools and exercises presented in the book “The Demystified Charisma” is very, very big. In this post, I could summarize only a small part.
If you are interested in the subject, if you want to learn how to develop more impact during your interactions, I highly recommend joining our email list on the home page. You will be delighted with your time investment.
Don t forget to share this with your lovely one to improve your chances
What goals could you achieve with greater ability to convince and resemble the people around you?
How could you incorporate into your day exercises to practice your presence, your power and your cordiality?