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Find your ‘professional charisma’


Published: May 17, 2013

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Amazingly, simply being good at what you do is not enough to excel in today’s competitive environment.

Forbes published a study by the Carnegie Institute that revealed only 15 percent of our success in business is determined by our technical skills. A whopping 85 percent of our success is determined by our communication skills, ability to lead others and our personality.

What many professionals lack is what I call “professional charisma”. Professional charisma has two components. Professional refers to presenting yourself in a way that conveys you can be taken seriously. It is a demonstration of competence, work ethic and a decorum that is business appropriate. Charisma is the element that makes you personable in a way that moves others to want to work with you and for you.

Charismatic employees are perceived as more productive and are presented with more opportunities. A Harvard study revealed charismatic managers perform better because they get much stronger buy-in from their team members.

Can charisma be developed? Absolutely, charisma is a learned interpersonal skill. It’s about all building strong rapport. When you develop genuine rapport with someone, they like you and trust you. It becomes easy to influence them.

Here are five things you can do to build rapport and enhance your professional charisma

1. Be approachable. Body language plays a huge role in your approachability factor. It’s easy to be so engrossed in our deliverables and deadlines that we become inaccessible to those around us. Check your resting face. What do you look like when you are lost in your own thoughts? Does your face naturally hang in a scowl? Use your mirror to practice a face that looks open and friendly. Acknowledge team members with eye contact, a smile and unfold your arms. If you look unapproachable, people will avoid you.

2. Take time to make small talk.  Many of my clients feel uncomfortable with casual chit chat. However, it’s important for people to see you in more than one dimension. It doesn’t benefit you to come across as a perfect drone; you need to be seen as human. Learning to engage in a little small talk helps people to connect with you. Being sincerely interested in other people also goes a long way. Connection is a key element when it comes to leading and influencing others.

3. Shine the spotlight on others. Nothing is more powerful than being generous with sincere compliments. Acknowledging positive things about others not only makes them feel good, you are seen as confident. When you make people feel good about themselves, they tend to feel good about you.

4. Become a good listener. People love to talk about themselves, give them the opportunity to do so. Be the one who wants to hear their opinions, accomplishments and solutions. Universally, we all have a need to be heard and people love good listeners.

5. Be authentic. Be yourself because people like real people. Just remember, we should all be striving to be the best version of ourselves and being yourself should not preclude others from being who they are.


• Kim Welcome is CEO of Influential Voice, a communication trainer and coach; she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. She invites your questions and comments: info@influentialvoice.com. For more info: www.influentialvoice.com.


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