Posted on 13 September 2008.
I find this article appropriate to the need of the times. Youth today needs more than just influence to move volunteers and members. They need charisma (a.k.a. the ability to develop or inspire in others an ideological commitment to a particular point of view) to move people do things for the better good of everyone.
Debra Benton, author of Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership offers the following simple pointers based on the experience of successful executives and leaders. More than just myth, the steps are definitely practical and realistic. These are just simple steps you may consider in improving your charisma.
Expect acceptance. Regardless of rank, expect to be treated as an equal. If you expect acceptance, you just might get it. If you don’t expect it, you definitely won’t get it.
Control your attitude. Success in business is based more on mental attitude than on mental capabilities. Be optimistic toward yourself, others and life. Walk in to a room with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Perfect your posture. Pull your ribcage away from your pelvis, roll your shoulders back and down, pull your stomach in and tuck your bottom toward your spine. Breathe deeply. You’ll not only look better, but feel more energized, alert and in control.
Think before you talk. Think fast, pause, then speak purposefully. One CEO practices saying everything to himself before he says it out loud so that he will hear how it sounds and can change it if he needs to.
Slow down. Speed in speaking, moving, gesturing and walking looks nervous and scared. Scared people get passed over, not hired or promoted. Learn to speak in a comfortable, easygoing and welcoming way. Don’t waste time, but do speak as if you have all the time in the world for those you are speaking to.
Shoot straight. Everything you say or write can be done in a simple, straightforward manner. Just do it.
Be a good storyteller. People understand you better, remember what you say longer, and find you smarter and more interesting if you use anecdotes to make your points.
Be aware of your style. Clothes don’t make the man but they do make a difference. Wear well-tailored, good quality clothes that make you look like you are in charge. But remember, it isn’t as much about your look as how you look at things and what people see when they look at you.
Admit your mistakes. If you are error-free, you’re likely effort-free.
Don’t be bullied. If you are unjustly criticized, don’t take the bait and get into an argument. Instead calmly ask: “Why do you think that?” “What do you mean?” or “What’s that based on?”
Be flexible. Be able to stand out while still fitting in with the crowd.
Be at ease with yourself and others. Look others straight in the eye, eliminate any defensiveness and take the edge off your voice. Never let them see you sweat!