Self-Presentation, Animated Energy, and Charisma

Daniel Goleman states that charisma is one of the most important aspects of self-presentation. In communication, a person’s charisma quotient is directly correlated with the ability to persuade and the perception of being credible. Charisma is like an energetic spark something intangible and hard to pinpoint that magnetizes you to someone.

Charisma comes from the Greek word Charis, the name for the Graces, the three sisters, goddesses and daughters of the king of gods, Zeus. (Surprise: they are all women.) The Graces are Brightfulness, Joyfulness, and Bloom, a trio of grace and beauty.

Leadership coach Martha Lasley writes about this and the importance of developing personal charisma on her website. She says charisma is, therefore, often considered a gift from the gods, an elusive quality for a chosen few.

When you hear the word charisma, whom do you think of? Politicians like Barack Obama or Sarah Palin? Martin Luther King Jr.? Margaret Thatcher? Which public figures know how to “play” an audience? Like physical attraction, charisma is a subjective quality. We cannot walk into a room and announce to an audience, “Hello, I’m Audrey. I have charisma.” It’s like beauty. People don’t always agree on who has it, but they’re often very opinionated on who doesn’t.

Charisma is a key point in credibility, and you can’t persuade people if they don’t think you’re credible. Credibility is a combination of perceived qualities that make listeners predisposed to believe you. And key characteristics of credible speakers include charisma and dynamism.

Furthermore, “one reason babies are so attractive is they don’t hide their emotions,” Lasley writes. Like most women, what babies feel can be seen on their faces and felt by others around them.

“As we grow older, some of us can maintain this magnetism. But more often than not, we become conditioned to hide our feelings,” says Lasley. That’s especially true of men. In fact, there is sometimes a homophobic reaction to men who are overly exuberant and animated, the very energy of charisma. We associate a dynamic style as somewhat feminine.

Harness that animated energy and charisma. Because you exhibit animation, you are a charm magnet. Pull people in with your charisma. Get them on board with your ideas and mission. Now you have opened the door to persuasion. You can get them to do anything. Express yourself. Don’t be ruled by the outdated masked man who is seldom animated. Charisma moves people. Move them where you want them to go!


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