You can never be too rich, too thin … or too charismatic.
And for good reason: A steady supply of charisma can not only make you a star at parties, but research also shows that it can help get you hired—and even nab you a higher salary offer.
According to Rakesh Khurana, a professor of leadership development at Harvard, charisma is the quality that American companies most often seek in a C.E.O.
It’s also highly prized in employees lower on the totem pole: Researchers at MIT say that they can project how much an interview candidate will be offered during salary negotiations—within $1,000—based solely on their measured charisma. (More on how they do that in a minute.)
But are you born with charisma—or is it like any other skill that can be honed?
That, says Achim Nowak, author of the new book “Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within,” is the question he gets asked most frequently in his work as a coach for high-caliber executives.
What Is Charisma, Anyway?
“The million dollar question is whether anyone can access charisma,” Nowak says. “One of the old definitions is ‘divinely conferred talent,’ which refers to the notion of, if you’re lucky, the gods blessed you.”
According to Nowak’s definition, “charisma is inside” and that je ne sais quoi is what enables certain people to draw you in. “I’m really interested in connection,” he says. “When we talk about charisma, it’s the quality people who light up the stage have. They’re like an energy magnet—and we want to engage.”
We all know it when we see it: Think Marilyn Monroe, Oprah or Bill Clinton. But where does this magical energy live, and how does it manifest? Does personal magnetism come down to a handshake, a glance, your body language? Or do people mistake it for physical beauty?
Not quite, says Nowak, who believes you needn’t be a Brad or an Angelina to attract people to you. “Charisma is a primal energy, a sexual energy, a spiritual energy,” he explains. “If you accept that definition, then we all have it. The question is not can I have it, but what are some of the ways in which I can access this energy to bring more out of me and connect more people to me?”
Indeed. Here are four ways we can all get a bit more charismatic, starting today.