Charisma: How to Match Your Verbal and Non-Verbal Messages

November 20, 2014




If you look up “charisma” in the dictionary, the definition will say something along the lines of: “a person with personal charm, persuasive and possessing high interpersonal skills.”  Clearly, charisma is a quality that one should want to possess, particularly in the communications field.

But how can we truly become more charismatic?

There are many qualities that can make a person charismatic. On a practical level, however, a person is thought to be charismatic when his verbal messages and his non-verbal messages are consistent.  This means that your words and your body language have to correspond with one another, and have to work together to create a stronger impact.  It may seem simple, but how exactly do you effectively do this?

5 tips for achieving correspondence between verbal and non-verbal messages:

  • Voice and tone – 38% of our first impressions are based on our ability to use our voice correctly.  What is considered the “proper” use of your voice?  Simply put, you should use a moderate and changeable variation of: volume (high/low), pace (quick/slow) and style (decisive/authoritative/soft/containing).

  • Facial expressions – it’s very difficult to listen with interest and gain a connection with someone who has an expressionless face.  We must ensure that we use varied facial gestures according to message we’re trying to convey and of course, we can’t forget to smile.  As a rule, people have an easier time connecting to and having a positive perception of people who smile at them.

  • Eye contact – in order to radiate credibility, honesty and intimacy with the person standing before us, we must ensure to make eye contact with all the people in the audience.  Don’t stay fixated on one person for too long though; make sure you are making eye contact with the entire audience.  Additionally, try not to look at your notes or presentation too much.  Keep engaging the audience to make sure not to lose them.

  • Shoulders – studies have shown that something that radiates high self-esteem is the shoulders.  That is, erect and straight shoulders send a message that a person can be counted on; strong shoulders give the impression that a person believes in himself. This, in turn, makes it easier to believe in this person and in his message.

  • Use of attention grabbers – in order for our message to be memorable and to create an experience as a derivative of the interaction with us, we must spice up our content with concrete examples, personal experiences, anecdotes, surprising data from recent studies, videos etc. As much as we might want our presentation to stand on its own, using extras can really help our message stick with the audience.

Charisma can be something that comes naturally to people, but it can also be taught and learned very easily through these simple steps. If you want others to be excited about what you’re saying, you need to be excited while saying it. By being passionate and energetic, your message will grab hold of an audience and make them feel the same way you do.

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