My good friend Olivia Fox-Cabane wrote her first book last year, ‘The Charisma Myth’. In it she argues that ‘charisma’, to an extent, can be taught and learnt. Having read the book several times I think it goes a long way to minimizing the ‘rookie errors’ that we all make that routinely stop us being charismatic ourselves, but I still think charisma is too mystical an attribute to deliberately seek out. Maybe I’m just coming from a low base.
I often think that charisma and influence are similar. Everyone wants to have both, we think our world would be easier if we possessed them and we view them as highly aspirational. We admire those traits in others. But we can never be the ones to decide if we have them – they’re solely in the eyes of the beholder – and there’s no personal measurement of them. That’s why, in a social setting, we can all argue about which of our friends we find charismatic.
You can neither be charismatic nor influential alone on a desert island, so both can only be viewed by the effect they have on another person or body. They’re all about the result not the action.
That’s why in my own company we can identify real-world market influencers because we focus very specifically on the result of their influence (on a particular marketplace), not on a woolly generic opinion of the influence we think they possess.
The book’s a really interesting read, but I think both charisma and influence are still all about their application not their innate existence.
- Charisma: who has it, and how to get it (3quarksdaily.com)