Charisma – The Power to Influence

Dr Brian Monger and Kylie Prince

You’ve tried and tried to convince others of your ideas and position. You’ve worked hard,  laid out your logical arguments — but you still have trouble being listened to. Your good ideas (even with great PowerPoints) do not seem to sway them. Yet you see others, whose ideas are seemingly less developed, who have not done the hard yards succeed.

Psychologists and behaviourists will tell you that the approach you are taking is rarely successful. Good intentions, great ideas, and hard work are not enough to make it.

To succeed you will need the support of others

People with higher levels of charisma influence others.  People with positive, authentic charisma influence others in positive ways so both benefit.

Think of charisma as force of character, or personal presence.

Charisma is a behavioural quality that anyone can develop. With the right information (and some assistance) anyone can increase their personal influence.

Other similar terms to charisma, include personal magnetism force of character, ‘strong personal appeal or gravitas)

Charisma is the spirit with which a person which can enlighten a whole room.

People with higher levels of charisma get noticed, listened to, respected, and followed.  In short they are more likely to succeed, because the reality of success is that you need others to help and support you.  Being smart, having good ideas and working hard are seldom enough.

A strong charismatic personal presence is useful for relationships of all sorts (leading, teaching, entrepreneuring, selling, speaking and developing professionally) Having an effective charismatic force of character is also useful for defending yourself and others, and for negotiating, complaining, and seeking redress.

Authentic charisma, the  power of personal influence is not commonly taught, but it can be.

Despite the early origins of the word, the notion that charisma is ‘God-given’ or exclusive to a lucky few is simply not true.  What people may see as an accident of nature or perhaps heritage is in reality the result of experience and learning – it has been learned.

Ordinary people achieve success (in many fields) and even greatness every day, because they can influence others.

Becoming charismatic  is not a gift from the gods. If you want to be charismatic, you can be.

What’s So Useful About Charisma?

Charisma is not about showing off.  It is a useful personal tool.

Charisma enables us to influence our external environment and the expectations of others which from time to time we all need to do – even the introverts among us.

If you want to succeed  then you have a good reasons for developing your charismatic powers.

Charisma is an applied force of human personality which can be understood, measured, and developed.

Charisma is not just for those in senior or leadership roles.

Certainly good leaders benefit from having charisma.  A leader who does not influence is a poor leader.

But the power of personal influence, is for all sorts of people.  It is what helps determine which ideas get adopted and how effectively projects are implemented. Good charisma is critical anytime you’re applying for a job.  Charismatic receive higher performance ratings. They tend to  get more promotions.

Charisma is not monolithic.

There’s no one form of charisma that is good or bad per se. There’s only the right form of charisma for the particular situation. Western cultures often glamorises extroversion, leaving  Quieter people to sometimes feel defective.  However introversion can actually be an asset for several forms of charisma.

Is charisma about being coldly manipulative?

It can be – but not Authentic Charisma which is based on kindness. The type of charisma people like the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela are known for.

Will you have to become a different person? 

In some situations, the ones you choose – yes you will.   It is a conscious behaviour to be used when needed. And something that will become second nature.  Something you switch on when needed

Charisma is helpful for managing problem-solving, facilitating and pioneering new ideas.

And charisma is very useful for all sorts of personal relationships including parenting.

When you see charisma in these terms and as a way of understanding and controlling your own strength of character – you might also see reasons in your own life for wanting to develop some charismatic power for yourself.

Key Personality Traits of Authentically Influential/Charismatic People:

Speaking with Authority

The ability to communicate your ideas effectively to others.

Strong Self-Esteem

Self-confidence, inner-calm, self-reliance, independence.   This conveys confidence and authenticity.

Personal Warmth

Influential people are  known for their ability to focus warmth the people they are with. A person who is concerned about the welfare and happiness of others is a respected person.  It is inevitable that people who dislike others will be disliked; people sense disapproval

Projecting Silent Messages/Image

The way you carry yourself, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Listening Attentively and Actively

Listening is a key to communicating and making others feel special in your presence.

High Energy

Persuasion is often about passion, enthusiasm, commitment, determination.   High personal positive energy builds and maintains a positive energetic response in others. Positive energy makes others feel good


Motivating others to follow your lead and adopt your ideas.

Self Discipline – Temperance

The person who lacks the necessary self-discipline to manage his or her personal habits is seldom attractive to others. .

Respecting Others

Respecting and honoring another person will affect the amount of tension and trust you develop.


When we smile at another person, it puts them at ease and raises their self-esteem. It also releases endorphins in your brain that gives you a feeling of well-being and contentment. Your smile will change the attitudes of those with whom you come into contact.


Keeping empathy and ego in balance.


Charismatic people tend to exhibit good “body skills” They also have the skill and grace in dealing with others

Sensory Awareness

Empathy and  emotional intelligence (EQ).   Charismatic people are aware of their own feelings and the feelings and moods of others.  This makes them expressive and compelling in the way they communicate and engage with others.

Sincerity and Authenticity

Authentically charismatic people are genuine and honest and free from deceit and phoniness.

Frankness in Manner and Speech

Influential people present as being straightforward and sincere. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Getting the point across in the shortest time with well-chosen words

Personal Adaptability

Understanding contexts . Understanding how to treat others in differing situations. The ability to adapt to quickly changing circumstances without losing composure.

Projecting Vision and an Aspiration For Success

Charismatic people are seen to have a vision of success and have the ability to make it happen.  People are attracted to people they believe have or can succeed.  This is the ability to influence others to follow, change their ideas or take action.

Innovativeness and Creativity

Everyone is born with a brain and imagination.  Charismatic people can use theirs to develop their fullest capacity to create a great life for themselves.

Versatility and a Range of Ideas.

Popular and persuasive people are listened to versatile. They have at least a surface knowledge of many subjects. They are interested in other people’s ideas.

A Confident Presence

A confident presence is that sense of energy and feeling emanating from a person who is happy within their own skin and confident in their belief that, generally, life doesn’t throw up anything that they can’t manage.

A Sense of Calmness

Calm is the foundation of perceptions of personal presence. Developing presence and poise should be everyone’s aim.  An inner sense of calm, regardless of circumstance.  Remaining calm under pressure, inspires others.

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These are outline notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us –

Also check out other articles on

MAANZ International website

Smartamarketing Slideshare (


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