From Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.:
Let’s face it, in business dealings, charisma counts. A lot. And charisma is as much about impressions and body language as it is about issues and substance. I’ve seen many qualified people get passed over for promotion (or lose a sale or fail an interview) simply because they couldn’t project an engaging attitude.
Max Weber, the father of sociology, first coined the term “charisma” to describe inspirational leaders. Originally from the Greek kharisma, meaning favor or divine gift, charisma has also been defined as “part confidence, part presence, and part sex appeal.” But however we define it, we know it when we see it. We call someone charismatic when they somehow compel us to embrace their vision — whether it’s corporate, social, or political.
As a leadership presence coach, I define charisma as focused passion/energy that results in complete congruence between what you say and how you look and sound when you say it.
Body language communicates your emotions and motivations, likes and dislikes, interest and disengagement. Whether you are interviewing for a job, pitching your idea to a venture capitalist, or presenting a new business strategy to the board of directors, you are the most charismatic and convincing when what you are feeling internally is perfectly aligned with what you’re verbally expressing. (At which point your body language automatically becomes congruent with your words.) That’s why my coaching sessions always begin with questions about your emotional intent: What is the heart of the message you want to communicate? How do you truly feel about it? How important is this to you? Why do you think others should care?
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