Jim tried to be all things to all people. He was, after all, a representative for a large company. He was an ambassador for their product, an information resource, a networker, a promoter of values, and a communicator of the company’s message and ideals.
However, despite all his hard work, despite his attempts to connect with his audience, Jim’s message was not getting through. His progress was unsatisfactory. What could he be doing wrong? Wasn’t he giving the audience what they wanted? It couldn’t have been him, he thought. It must be the content. Yet his coworker Anne was working with the same content and experiencing success. She was doing what he couldn’t, namely, connecting with and inspiring her audience, and getting positive results.
Jim watched Anne present. At each event, her presence was strong, her body language convincing. She was natural and authentic. She was charismatic. And Jim thought he could never be that. He bemoaned this to her over coffee one afternoon. She told him that she was not born with this ability, but had learned how to let her natural charisma come through.
Anne told Jim to think of musical notes. “They can be read and understood,” she said, “but until they are played, they do not have the power to touch an audience. The notes need an instrument.
“Content works the same way,” she added. “Your words are like notes. They can be heard, read, and understood, but they cannot touch an audience without an instrument. And that instrument is you—your body and your voice.
“And just as a musician needs to be trained to learn how to play,” Anne added, “so does a speaker.”
So how can Jim learn how to play?
How can you learn to be charismatic?
Decide how you want to appear before your presentation begins. How would you like to appear during your presentation? Think of an actor. He is in character before he steps onto the stage. Long before he utters a line, the audience knows who he is. It is in the way he walks, the way he carries himself. On stage, it is not the crown that makes the king but the way he holds his head. It is not the rags that make the pauper but the way he moves across the stage.
This was Jim’s problem. He wore the crown and the rags but did not act the part.
Long before you speak, transmit the message you want to send your audience.
Let your body support your message. A strong posture means strong content. You will appear more confident, which in turn strengthens what you say.
Learn how to stand properly. Imagine roots growing down from your feet and connecting you to the center of the earth. From the center of your stomach, there is a cord reaching down to those roots and also up to the sky. Bring your spine into alignment with this cord. Relax your chest and breathe easy. Your stance is strong and so is your presence. You are connected with earth and sky and now with the people around you.
Develop a sense of mission. Know and believe that you have something important to say. Again, think of an actor on stage. No matter how beautiful the words may be, they will never touch an audience unless they are spoken with conviction and in a manner appropriate to them.
In the same way that actors become the characters they play, speakers must believe in the words they speak. Any uncertainty or doubt on their part is felt by the audience as well.
Inspire your audience with your presence and intensity. Only those who burn themselves can spark others. Speak from the power of your own passion. Enjoy every second of your presentation so that your passion touches others.
Always show appreciation towards others. Each and every one of us wants to be recognized and appreciated. If you let these qualities become part of your mindset, they will constantly radiate from you and your audience will feel it.
Breathe from your core. Keep your abdomen, lower back, and sides extended while inhaling. Relax them completely during exhalation. Nervousness, stage fright, stress, and excitement can easily be managed when you use this calming technique.
Make sure that everyone in the room feels addressed and involved. Spread your attention and energy out into every corner of the room to ensure that no one feels left out. Remember, what goes around, comes around. Everything you give out will come back around to you.
Let your body speak, but in a relaxed manner. Every gesture should come from your center and then return there or be replaced by an appropriate, natural movement. When you allow each gesture and moment to have an impact, your body language is more confident and you appear more knowledgeable and convincing. Avoid quick, hectic, and agitated movements.
Be authentic. In the end, speaking is not about being all things to all people. It is about allowing your natural self to come through. Your natural presence is charisma. By presenting yourself in a confident and natural way, you are able to create connections.
When people can trust you, they can trust your content. When you hide who you are, you obscure not only yourself but also your content.
These techniques are the start. With them, Jim was able to present himself more naturally and confidently. By having more confidence, he was able to show more and more of his natural self.
The same is true for you. When all of you is present, you are charismatic and your light can shine. Your true being comes through. You will connect with the people and world around you, making your content stronger and the music more appealing.
ADELE LANDAUER is an international expert on
success, achievement, and self-leadership.
She is a recognized expert on persuasive appearance,
social charisma, and presentation.
She is the author of Experience Total Freedom:
6 Steps to Tearing Down Your Walls and Living Your Life
with Happiness, Balance, and Success,
inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall.