top of page

Charisma: Do you have it and do you need it?

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” Gary Vaynerchuk

Who else has the discussion with friends or work colleagues about people who have ‘it’? The ‘thing’. Something you can’t define about a person that immediately draws you towards them. Barack Obama has it. Bono has it. Oprah has it. Those people that have an unconscious knack of capturing attention just by the way they hold themselves, the words they speak and the vibe they radiate.

Is this what we call charisma? And if it’s so intoxicating, is it only successful people who have it? And if we don’t think we have it, where can we get some? Lots of questions to answer, but I’d like to pose this question. Do we need to have charisma to be a successful networker? Let’s look at some research around charisma first.

  • Charisma is not ‘magical’, it is simply the result of learned behaviours

  • People’s charisma can go up or down by adopting specific behaviours

  • Charismatic behaviours are usually learned early in life

  • The three elements of charisma have been defined as power, presence and warmth (Source: The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabone)

Professor Ronald E Riggio has a PhD in Leadership and Psychology and has identified the 6 building blocks of charisma. Let’s look at these building blocks and focus on how we can bring them into the way we network.

  1. Emotional Expressiveness Be spontaneous and genuine when speaking with people. These are the people who are often described as ‘lighting up the room’.

  2. Emotional Sensitivity Pick up on how the people you are speaking to are feeling. Are they expressing frustration, pride, happiness? Responding to people’s feelings makes them feel as though “he or she is the only person in the room”. Think Princess Diana and how she connected with people.

  3. Emotional Control The capability to control and regulate emotional displays is so important at networking events. We don’t all agree on certain topics and discussions can get heated but keeping your cool means you aren’t the one being escorted off the premises or embarrassing yourself or your organisation.

  4. Social Expressiveness People who are engaging with their conversations and words will always do well in a group situation, especially with people they have never met before. It gets people feeling comfortable and relaxed and is a great skill to have in a networking environment.

  5. Social Sensitivity Politicians are good at this (well the good ones are!). People who are socially sensitive pick up on the mood of a room and act accordingly.

  6. Social Control People with good social control are chameleons. They can adjust their behaviour and conversation to suit a certain type of person, situation or environment. There is no hierarchy in their world. They’re happy to chat to everyone but adjust their behaviour to make that person feel comfortable.

My take on it is this. I suggest that charisma is great to have when you’re in a networking situation and all of these building blocks will definitely help, but it is one small part of who you are as an individual. Authenticity is the key. It is how you draw like-minded people to you (and vice versa). And as we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, I think it’s important that we don’t differentiate between how we should network as women and who we should network with. I know there are many 'women only' networking groups out there and it’s great to have like-minded people gather together to discuss their similar concerns, issues and challenges. But I thoroughly recommend that women also network with men. Don’t limit yourself to just one group or just one demographic. Several men have had a great impact on my career over the years, from my very first Manager, whom I am still in touch with 20 years later!, to my husband, who 'get's me' and supports my business in every way, to all the exceptional male mentors advising and guiding me over the years. People who are authentic with everyone and are truly passionate about what they do? Now THAT’S charisma! If you would like to learn more about Charisma and how it applies to networking, please contact us for a complimentary chat. Happy Netships (Networking Relationships)

Julia Palmer :)

ps - dates for your diary

BUZZ Drinks - Q1 Join us for a social gathering of lovely minds on the 25th of March at RedOak Sydney (5.30-7.30pm)

Create & Manage Networks Training Course Next intake is September 16th 2015 (4 half day sessions in a program, held in the Sydney CBD, that runs over 2 months)

bottom of page