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THE LAWS OF CHARISMAHow to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success
By Kurt W. Mortensen
AMACOMCopyright © 2011 Kurt W. Mortensen
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePASSION: THE TRANSFER OF PURE ENERGY
One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested. —E. M. Forster
People who know where they are going are able to captivate others because they are passionate and therefore charismatic. You can tell when you meet them or when they enter a room. Others are drawn to them because, deep down, people want to be passionate about something. When others see that passion in your eyes, you become more charismatic. They sense that you can help them and improve their lives. This does not guarantee that everyone will like you, but others will respect you for your conviction and your passion.
Passion is critical to influencing others and transmitting charisma. Charismatic people radiate heartfelt passion. When your audience can sense your passion and sincere conviction for your cause, they will jump on board emotionally. We all love people who are excited and filled with believable passion for their subject. When you have passion for something, you want to let everyone know about it. You want to convert as many people to your cause as possible. Even when someone disagrees with you, you are able to openly listen to their opinions, feedback, and point of view while maintaining your composure and conviction.
Passion is very contagious. When you transfer your passion, the people around you start to absorb your energy. They begin to perform better. Being on the job no longer seems like work. They become more proactive, more willing to work as a team, and more optimistic. When you have tapped into your passion, you become more determined, and that determination strengthens your persistence.
A word of caution: Even when you are passionate, do not forego learning the skills you need to be successful. Passion is a critical piece of the charisma pie, but you still need the other pieces of the pie to radiate powerful long-term charisma.
Passion always includes enthusiasm, but you can be enthusiastic without having passion. Enthusiasm is a strong excitement or feeling on behalf of a cause. You have probably seen charismatic people who give off enthusiasm. It is in their faces and their demeanor—they are undeniably motivated—and it creates sparks of curiosity. Enthusiasm not only reduces worry and fear, but it also creates confidence, compassion, and a synchronization between you and your audience.
Most people have trouble tapping into their true passion. Many confuse hype, extra caffeine, or excitement with passion. Passion is not running around and bouncing up and down like a new puppy. True passion radiates and captivates and does not need to be forced. When your audience feels forced or unrealistic hype on your part, they will be repelled. You will be seen as fake, and that perception will decrease your ability to influence. Tap into your true passion, and it will influence others to come around to your point of view. Just because you are excited does not mean you radiate passion. Make sure you are radiating true passion, not false enthusiasm or hype.
Those with charisma increase enthusiasm by gaining insight and knowledge about their subject. They have developed a true belief and conviction in what they do. Believe in yourself and in your message, radiate enthusiasm in all that you do. On the flip side, fake enthusiasm, unrealistic hype, and false energy destroy charisma. You can enhance your charisma by doing the following:
* Always maintain your credibility.
* Be sincere in all your interactions.
* Always be connecting with others.
* Always be authentic.
* Maintain constant confidence.
John Wooden is a great example of passion. Everyone around him, especially his players, felt his passion and was influenced by it. He was UCLA's basketball coach during the team's greatest era. He recruited raw talent, demanded they practice hard, and provided passion, enthusiasm, and inspiration. His teams won 665 games in 27 seasons and 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons. His teams hold the all-time record of winning 88 games in a row and had an incredible four perfect seasons. He never made more than $35,000 a year, but his passion and impact on the fans and on his players will last a lifetime. He loved what he was doing and proved that passion is a critical element of success.
Find your passion. Tapping into your passion is like sculpting. You are getting a little closer each time you take a chip off the raw stone. Sometimes we get closer to our passion by finding things we don't want to do. Start experimenting with different tasks and topics, and get to know other people. You don't know whether you like a certain food unless you are willing to take a bite. Read more, join more clubs, and spend more time on personal development in the areas that might be worthy of your passion. You cannot be passionate about something if you don't know anything about it. In fact, educating yourself about a topic is a great way to increase your passion.
Here is the question I want you to think about today: When it comes to what you are doing with your life, are you singing the song and really feeling it, or are you just singing the words—going through the motions? Think about your answer.
Chapter TwoCONFIDENCE: CONVICTION IS CONTAGIOUS
Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. —Norman Vincent Peale
Confidence is a trait that increases your charisma and attracts people to you. People love to follow and be influenced by others who are confident in themselves and their abilities. Most people you meet suffer in the self-confidence arena, but your high confidence will make up for their shortfall. Confidence breeds trust. Demonstrating confidence in your field, in your industry, and in your life increases the confidence of others in you. The people we admire and look up to the most are usually the type of people who know what they want and have the confidence to get it.
You must learn to communicate with great confidence and authority. The perception of confidence is critical to maintaining charisma. The higher your true confidence is, the more charisma you radiate. People read your confidence in your tone of voice, body language, and other subconscious triggers.
True confidence is a state of mind. At times in your life and in your career, your personal confidence can get smashed and needs to be rebuilt. Charismatic people can maintain confidence in all situations even if they have encountered defeats, setbacks, or unpredicted outcomes. We all have a tendency to feel insufficient or inferior at times. When you lose faith in yourself or have had failures in your life, you lose confidence through fear, which can be defined simply as magnified doubt. All worries, questions, concerns, and insecurities can ultimately be traced back to fear in one form or another.
Fear breeds doubt and doubt destroys confidence. You need to make sure that your confidence is bigger than your doubts. What does your audience really sense in you? Are you afraid to exercise confidence and charisma? The desire to overcome your fear needs to be bigger than the fear itself. While it is okay to have fear, you must be able to handle and manage that fear. When you doubt yourself and your abilities, others will doubt you and your charisma.
Other factors that can destroy confidence are:
* Negative thoughts.
* Indecision about purpose.
People who lack confidence will always struggle to effectively influence others and create charisma. Even when you have confidence, you can still sometimes feel fear, tension, or uneasiness. Confidence is the ability to control these feelings. If you're perceived as underconfident, your audience will feel that way too— about your product, about you, or about your idea. Don't panic if you don't feel confident at every encounter; confidence will come with time. Complete confidence takes experience, practice, and patience.
You may be wondering, "Can't overconfidence hurt my ability to exude charisma?" Of course! You must not come across as condescending or arrogant. How can you tell the difference between confidence and cockiness? It's all about your intention. Confidence is motivated by a sincere desire to help others and to make a difference. True confidence comes from knowing that you have the tools, resources, and ability to do the job that's expected of you. In contrast, cockiness is driven by a need to help yourself, instead of helping others. Deep down, cockiness actually reveals insecurity—the very opposite of confidence.
Arrogant individuals seek approval and recognition for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways. Arrogance makes someone self-centered, whereas confidence makes a person people-centered. Arrogance is about self and confidence is about others. Whether you say and do all the right things simply doesn't matter. If you lack confidence, the cause is lost. Even if people like you, the lack of confidence destroys your ability to influence and have charisma.
How you think you are coming across and how you are actually perceived are usually two completely different things. How do others really perceive you? Are you focused on them or on yourself? You think you have confidence, you feel confident, and you think you come across as confident, but you could be perceived as either arrogant, cocky, or condescending. There is a fine line between being confident and coming across as arrogant. That is the blind spot. The flip side is the lack of confidence that could trigger fear and lack of trust in those you attempt to influence. Bottom line: no confidence, no charisma.
Here are some additional ways you can avoid the trap of seeming overly confident or arrogant:
* Always take feedback or criticism with an open heart.
* Spend more time listening than talking.
* Be able to admit that you were wrong.
* Don't always attempt to prove you are right.
* Ask questions to demonstrate concern.
* Have someone else explain why you are credible.
In the sports world, the name of Joe Namath comes up when you hear the word confidence. He played for the New York Jets when they were part of the American Football League (AFL). They made it to the Super Bowl III to play the powerful Baltimore Colts, at a time when no one thought an AFL team could compete with a National Football League (NFL) team. The previous two Super Bowls were complete blowouts for the NFL over the AFL. The Jets were 17-point underdogs. Joe Namath was being heckled at a press conference, and then, with great confidence and authority, he said, "I guarantee we will beat the Baltimore Colts." His confidence rallied his team to win that Super Bowl, 16–7, and Joe Namath won the MVP title. The rest is history.
One thing that can hurt your perception of confidence is embarrassment—from being worried about what others will think of you, about failing publicly, or about breaking a social rule. The best way to handle embarrassment is to understand that most people are sympathetic if you handle your embarrassment the right way. The studies show that those who acknowledge their embarrassment are more liked than those who deny it. You are human and embarrassment is a human emotion. Admit it, smile or laugh about it, and move on. No one does everything right, and your audience will understand if you acknowledge your mistake or your embarrassment. Even when you help someone become less embarrassed, your likeability goes up. When you build your confidence, the chance of your being embarrassed goes down dramatically.
Today, either acknowledge your embarrassment or help someone feel less embarrassed.
Chapter ThreeCONGRUENCE: ACTION VERSUS INTENTION
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time. —Abraham Lincoln
Agreement and harmony between what you say and what you do are paramount to instilling trust and generating charisma. The more consistent and congruent you are in every aspect of your message, the more honest and genuine you'll be perceived to be. If you don't believe in your message, others won't believe in it. When you practice what you preach, they will start to practice what you preach. When you achieve congruency, you will become more authentic. This authenticity is what helps you magnify your charisma and draws people to you. When you possess congruency, you don't need to manipulate, hide, or camouflage your behavior or your message.
Congruence opens the door to influence and charisma. It increases your believability and likeability. You attain congruency when your message is synchronized with your beliefs and values. It occurs when your voice, body language, words, and vocal tone are all congruent and aligned. It comes from making sure your verbal and nonverbal messages are in agreement. Congruence is even more important when your topic is highly emotional. To enhance your charisma, your complete message has to be congruent. When your messages are not in agreement, you come across as not so trustworthy, doubtful, less than knowledgeable, and lacking in charisma.
Think about your overall history and, more specifically, your last interaction. Were you congruent? Does your nonverbal behavior match your actions? Are you sure? Are your emotions congruent with your message? When your past encounters don't align with your message, the mismatch triggers incongruence. The feelings of incongruence will usually manifest as a gut feeling. Suspicion will increase, and your audience will start to look for things that are wrong with you or your message. Distrust causes your charisma to plunge. Your inconsistency will decrease your ability to gain influence because humans can be natural lie detectors. When we attempt to fake congruence, we spend most of our time and mental energy trying to fake our message, triggering incongruence.
Deception, of course, is wrong—no doubt about it. But you can trigger incongruence simply because you get nervous or uneasy and inadvertently show signs of deception. Sometimes, even if you are telling the truth and think you are congruent, you might be sending subliminal signals of incongruency and deception. The audience can't always identify exactly what is making them distrustful, but they feel that way and that is all that matters. We all show micro expressions that happen so rapidly that the conscious mind can't perceive them, but the subconscious can sense them. Micro expressions are quick facial mannerisms that reveal deception or nervousness.
Another thing that causes a blip on your audience's deception radar is a disconnect between your emotion and your reaction. For example, if you make an angry face, then pound the table with your hand five seconds later, obviously you are not feeling that emotion. Be careful that you are congruent with every aspect of your message.
Congruence is simple to understand and difficult for many people to achieve. You waste mental energy when you are trying to remember a past lie or what you said in the last encounter. Attempts to deceive just suck the energy and life out of you and your presentation, causing your audience to sense that something is wrong. When you tell the truth, are consistent, and know what you believe, you are naturally congruent and more charismatic.
Even when you feel congruent, you may not look congruent. Whether you are deceiving or not, whether you are insincere or not, you might be coming across as if you are. A little fib? A white lie? No one will know. We think others can't tell. They haven't said anything about not believing you or your message. A little deception has worked before, and no one has called you on it. Most people can sense incongruence and rarely will say anything about it. Every gesture and movement you make will either attract or repel your audience. You will either come across as congruent or incongruent. People are reading you like a book. Do your gestures match your message?
Excerpted from THE LAWS OF CHARISMA by Kurt W. Mortensen Copyright © 2011 by Kurt W. Mortensen. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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