At Work

Work on your charisma

Charisma is a subtle trait found in most successful leaders who have the ability to attract and draw faithful followers.

Yet many believe charisma is inborn or an innate quality that you naturally possess or you don’t. If you don’t, you lack a competitive edge to influence others compared with those who do.

The good news is you can boost your charisma — you just need to work hard at certain behaviours if they do not come naturally to you. It is well worth the effort because charisma, charm and a positive personality are contagious, and these qualities can attract people to you like a magnet.

Be self- confident

When you feel self-confident, you naturally exude an aura of charisma and charm. To get self-confidence going for you every morning, start by dressing for the part you want.

If you are going to work, dress professionally and groom yourself properly. For example, wearing an immaculately ironed shirt not only makes you look and feel great, you are also more apt to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Chances are when you feel good about yourself, you will do your best and, hence, be more confident.

Maintain your focus

Do not allow yourself to be distracted by issues other than the task at hand. This is crucial especially when you want to actively listen to your internal and external customers, their challenges, needs and wants.

For instance, when talking to your clients over the telephone, do not read your e-mails at the same time. Active listening requires your full and uninterrupted attention.

Remember, you are not in a meeting to give a sales pitch, you are there to help your customers solve their problems or achieve their objectives, and you cannot do so until you know what they are.

Interest and attitude

Why is charismatic leadership so important? Psychologists have found that people are attracted to those who share the same attitudes as they do about life. This includes views on parenting, work ethics, values, relationships, welfare and even movies, smoking and drinking.

People assume that those who share similar interests and attitudes will like them. In turn, this makes them like you. If you can, look deeper and find areas of cooperation rather than conflict. Keep this in mind and you will find it easier to coach, persuade and influence others.

Responding to others

Showing people you find them unique and interesting makes them feel good about themselves, and thus they feel good about you. Giving people your full attention builds a momentary exclusive world of “you and me”. Some easy ways to show attention are through eye contact, a warm handshake and displaying an interest in what someone is saying.

Reaching out

Another way of showing interest is through touch. Subtle touches are good if you are careful and sensitive about the norms governing what is appropriate and comfortable for most people.

A gentle touch somewhere between the shoulder and hand, such as the elbow area, can have a powerful positive impact. When meeting someone for the first time, you can use this light touch as a gesture to get their attention, or to direct their attention somewhere else.

The message usually is “I like you and I am a warm person”. However, you should exercise caution and do your homework as these gestures are not welcome in some cultures.

Be comfy in

Your self-image — how you feel about yourself — shows in your posture and your gait. You can hear your own voice, but you cannot see your mannerisms and body language the way others can.

Avoid fidgeting and movements such as shaking a leg or playing with a pen. These tell people you are nervous or, worse, hiding something. Practise maintaining eye contact as it indicates that you are a confident person.

Being comfortable with yourself is how you want people to perceive you. When you dress appropriately and carry yourself confidently, you will feel your best. In turn, others will feel good in your presence and find you more attractive and charismatic. - Singapore Straits Times/Asia News Network.

Article by Betty Kan-Sekine, a corporate trainer and an associate lecturer at the SIM University. She conducts workshops in communication, leadership and thinking skills. Extracted from Star Classifieds.