Read an Excerpt
By Tony Alessandra
Copyright © 1998
All right reserved.
EVERYONE CAN HAVE CHARISMA IF ONLY ...
You walk into a room and soon notice an animated conversation
among a knot of several people. You're attracted to their energy and
start to join them. Then you see that one fellow has already turned
and is now talking to someone else. The original group drifts apart,
and that one man again quickly becomes the center of yet another
high-energy group. On and on, throughout the evening, you watch him
effortlessly pull others to him like moths to a flame.
What is it about this man that attracts others so readily? How,
without seeming to try, does he always end up as the center of
Or, at work, two managers with equal training and experience are
put in charge of similar group tasks. But the results differ
drastically. One task force flounders and misses a critical
deadline. The other quickly meshes as a team and produces a report
so stunning that the breadth, depth' and clarity of its ideas has
Why does one manager succeed, while her colleague fails to connect
with his people? Why does one need to check and recheck his
subordinates' work constantly, while the other manager just points
her people in the right direction andthey take off?
Those successful people aren't just lucky. What the engaging
conversationalist and the superbly effective manager have in common
is enormous charisma. But this is not an effortless gift from the
gods, not necessarily something they were born with.
Instead, it's a constellation of social skills, or tools.
Collectively, these qualities are sometimes also referred to as
personal magnetism. You may not know it, but those qualities, those
tools, are within you, too, just waiting to be developed, to be
And the wonderful thing about using these skills is that they make
you powerful without making others less so. That's because the kind
of power I'm talking about is interpersonal influence-not the power
of potentates, or generals, or other autocrats to order things to
happen. Instead, I'm talking about the power to be effective with
people. I'm talking about acquisition of power through interpersonal
means, appropriate means, means that don't take power away from
others but give you and them the power to achieve favorable
DEVELOPING YOUR CHARISMA
But, on the other hand, nothing good comes easily. And while you
have latent charisma, developing it isn't automatic. You must be
motivated and prepared to spend the time and make the effort to
sharpen your skills.
I've spent years studying why and how some people are viewed as more
charismatic than others. This book, using examples both famous and
obscure, will explain and illustrate what I believe are the most
common skills of charismatic people. More important, I'm going to
give you many, many suggestions on ways to develop your charisma.
First, we'll explore charisma as a whole. What are its basic
ingredients? Where does the concept come from? Why is there so much
confusion about it?
Then, before getting into the skills themselves, we'll speculate on
why charisma is more important now than ever before. You'll see how
true personal magnetism emanates from within you, not from your
title or whether you have a corner office, not from the size of your
desk or the size of your salary.
Of course, to have great personal magnetism, you must be an able
communicator. How to improve your skills in:
Adapting to others
But communication is more than just what you say or how you say it.
We communicate in many less obvious ways, too. You'll also learn how
Send out the best "silent message," or image
Use space and time to your advantage
Expand your vision and ideas
In addition to the many suggestions and examples, you'll find at the
end of each chapter another ten ideas for "jump-starting" that
particular skill. And, finally, "A Last Nudge toward Being the Best
You Can Be," will offer yet another ten specific ways you can
maximize your charisma.
Throughout the book, you'll also be urged to get other people to
tell you what they think about you. That's because there's often a
gap between how we see ourselves and how others see us. You might,
for example, give yourself a fairly low mark as a speaker because
you know you're nervous when you give a talk. On the other hand,
your audience might think you're a fine presenter. (Of course,
there's always the possibility of the opposite, too: You might think
you're terrific, while most everyone thinks you're a bore!)
It will be important that you ask others for feedback. And those
need to be the right people, people whotll tell you the truth.
You'll be looking for feedback that will add to, you might say, a
360-degree picture of yourself. So you'll need to ask for feedback
from those who know you at work, at home, on the tennis court, or
wherever you're mingling with others. Make sure each individual is
not only candid, but also familiar with your behavior in that
situation. For instance, you wouldn't ask your mother about your
speaking ability in a business meeting, unless she were on the board
of directors-and maybe not even then!
In short, this is a book designed to maximize your effectiveness,
whether you're a CEO or a clerk, an engineer or an apprentice. We
all need these skills because they help build trust and commitment.
And trust and commitment are the bedrock of every successful
endeavor. Without them, organizations don't function well,
coalitions don't get built, collaborations don't occur, opinions and
attitudes don't get changed, and careers rarely take off.
In any case, welcome aboard! Whatever your current level of
charisma, if you'd really like to improve it, you've come to the
Excerpted from Charisma
by Tony Alessandra
Copyright © 1998 by Tony Alessandra.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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