Charisma is one of the most important qualities a speaker can have. Aristotle even said, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” This hints at ethos, a concept which is so important to us it’s in our name. Ethos is the ability a person has to move others by displaying great credibility and character.
In our blog on Friday, we looked at what charisma means and how it can make you a more influential and likeable speaker. Today, we are taking it a step further. Let’s look at 5 research-based strategies for displaying charisma outlined in the research of Jay A. Conger and Rabindra N. Kanungo in an article called, “Toward a Behavioral Theory of Charismatic Leadership in Organizational Settings.” These 5 behaviors will help you become a speaker who has the power to move others.
Speakers with great charisma can help listeners break out of the safety of the status quo. While it might be necessary to identify and define current problems, charismatic speakers focus on the solution. They spend the majority of their time trying to help audience members see not what is, but what could be. Jerry Weissman refers to this as moving them from point A to point B, with point B being the endgame.
Most people aren’t willing to follow or imitate someone who doesn’t understand them. This can be a crucial hurdle for some leaders or speakers. If the audience doesn’t think you understand their position or experience, they probably won’t be willing to follow you. Charismatic speakers create connection and identification with their followers first. They not that only then, will imitation follow.
Forgive the clichés, but charismatic speakers are willing to “bet the farm” on their ideas or “put their money where their mouth is.” Speakers who want to inspire others must be willing to demonstrate the lengths they are personally ready to embrace to facilitate change. They aren’t going to ask the audience to commit to something they aren’t willing to do personally. And they aren’t shy about telling listeners how deep their commitment runs.
Charismatic speakers are creative. They are willing to break outside the “normal presentation” box and blur the boundary lines in an effort to communicate their ideas. Conger and Kanung refer to this in their research as the power of a unique hero. Speakers who want to affect their audiences and change the status quo have transcend what is expected or considered normal, even in presentations.
Speakers with charisma are talented communicators. They are able to share their vision with both clarity and creativity. Some of the tools speakers use to articulate vision include: strong definitions, action verbs, sharp imagery, and powerful metaphors. In fact, one study found that presidents who have been categorized as charismatic used nearly twice as many metaphors in their speeches.
Employing these 5 strategies will help to make you a powerful and effective speaker. But remember, you have to actually display them. It’s one thing to know internally that you are willing to incur risk, it’s another thing to actually communicate that to others. Charismatic speakers actively and intentionally demonstrate these 5 things when they present.
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