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The Charisma Equation

Ahhh..Charisma.

It’s one of those things we hear people say, “Wow, I wish I was as charismatic as that speaker!”

Someone who has charisma seems like they are a magnet and they’re able to draw people in. 

-- Is it what they do?

-- Is it who they are?

-- Is it what they say?

In this article, you’ll discover how to capture that charisma and develop it within yourself with The Charisma Equation.

  

The Charisma Equation:

C = E(nergy) + Em(otion) + En(gagement)

 ,

We’re going to define each part of this equation then you’ll get actionable steps you can carry out to improve your charisma.

 

Table of Contents

What is Charisma?

E(nergy)

Em(otion)

En(gagement)

 

 

What is Charisma?

Charisma is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has their special charisma.

Don’t confuse charisma with just being likable or sociable. Someone who has charisma is confident in themselves and their abilities. They show their true authentic selves and their way of being. This way of being creates a sort of attractiveness and charm that draws people in, helping people feel seen, heard, and valued. 

At the core, charisma is about deeply knowing and harnessing your energy, tapping into your emotions and the emotions of others, and engaging with the audience in a way that draws people to you. 

Now, let's dive deeper into the elements that forge this powerful connection—Energy, Emotion, and Engagement.

 

 

E(nergy)

What is Energy? 

There’s Inner Energy and Outer Energy.

Inner Energy (Internal Aspect) is the speaker's internal state, including mental, emotional, and spiritual vitality. It's the reservoir of energy that fuels confidence, motivation, and passion.

  • Mental Energy:
    • This includes focus, concentration, and clarity of thought. A speaker with high mental energy is alert, present, and absorbed with the matter at hand.
  • Emotional Energy:
    • Emotional energy is about the depth and authenticity of the speaker's feelings. It's the passion for their subject, the empathy for their audience, and the genuine expression of their own emotions that resonate and connect on a deeper level.
  • Spiritual Energy (Not on a religious level):
    • This is a more profound sense of purpose, alignment with personal values, and a commitment to a cause greater than oneself. Spiritual energy provides a sense of conviction and authenticity, inspiring trust and admiration from the audience.

Outer Energy (External Aspect) is the visible manifestation of the speaker's Inner Energy, which comes through in their physical presence, actions, and how they express themselves. It's what the audience perceives directly.

  • Physical Energy:
    • This involves posture, gestures, facial expressions, and overall body language. These body motions align with the speaker’s inner mental & emotional energy. A speaker with strong outer energy feels like they are commanding the space.
  • Vocal Energy:
    • The energy in a speaker's voice—its volume, pitch, pace, and tone—can significantly influence how the message is received. Outer energy is evident in a voice that is clear, modulated, and expressive, effectively transmitting the speaker's emotions and intentions.
  • Appearance:
    • Okay, this one might seem more superficial compared to other factors, appearance can reflect and affect a speaker's energy. Appropriate and intentional choices in attire and grooming can enhance credibility and authority, contributing to the overall perception of energy. And some of you know, when you wear the clothes and shoes you like, your energy changes!
  • Engagement with the Environment:
    • Outer energy also includes how a speaker interacts with their surroundings, other people, technology, and the space around them. Interacting with other energy forces from what’s happening around you can change your Inner Energy which changes your Outer Energy. 

You see most people got it a little bit backward, they want to work on their voice, gestures, and facial expressions to create a mask of good delivery, presence, and charisma. 

However, you probably know this to be true, when someone is “on”, “passionate”, or “in the zone”, you sense their Inner Energy taking over. Their Inner Energy becomes so strong, that it’s hard to resist. 

Stop for a second.

Can you think of someone that you had a conversation with or saw on stage that gave off this Inner Energy?

When you are speaking from a place of Inner Energy, your Outer Energy matches that. 

I’m going to be COMPLETELY honest with you…there’s this YouTube video I have called “Best Hand Gestures For Public Speaking”, currently it has 215K views and around 5.5K likes. 

The truth is… I rarely focus on using these hand gestures…… I only use them when I teach them.

I’m not saying that these hand gestures are bad…

I don’t use them because when I get in the zone of presenting or speaking, my natural body language and voice come out. 

I’m not also suggesting not to get better with your gestures or voice, what I am saying is that when you let yourself speak authentically at the moment, your body motions, voice and facial expressions will match that. 

How do you harness Inner and Outer Energy?

Harnessing Inner Energy:

  • 1. Cultivate Self Awareness & Mindfulness:
    • Connect with your inner self and recognize your mental and emotional states. The way you think, feel, and act is based on the events happening around you. Find time to quiet your mind so that you can be in the moment.
  • 2. Set Clear Intentions:
    • Define what you want to achieve with your energy. Whether it's to feel more confident, be more creative, or stay calm under pressure, setting intentions guides how you channel your energy.
  • 3. Connect With Your Purpose, Values and Passion:
    • Regularly reflect and review your purpose and values. Are you still aligned with them? What speaks to you now? If you’re speaking, do you feel something when you share your presentation or is it just words you feel like you have to say? Is the message important for you overall?

Harnessing Outer Energy:

  • 1. Adopt Powerful Body Language:
    • Practice open and confident body postures. Standing tall, making eye contact, and using purposeful gestures can significantly influence your outer energy and how others perceive you.
  • 2. Master Your Vocal Delivery:
    • Explore your voice. Focus on the 4 Ps - power (volume), pitch, pause, and pace to ensure your voice carries your energy effectively.
  • 3. Dress for Success:
    • Choose attire that makes you feel confident and aligns with your personal and professional goals.
  • 4. Engage with Your Environment:
    • Be present and responsive to your surroundings. Actively listen, make connections, and share your energy with others through meaningful interactions. Don’t feel like you always have to say everything you’ve written down or planned in your head.
  • 5. Energy Alignment Check-Ins
    • Regularly check in with yourself to align your Inner and Outer Energy. Ensure that your physical actions and presence reflect your inner intentions and emotional state.

By taking these steps, you can start to hardness both your Inner Energy and Outer Energy for your speaking success.

Let’s move on to the next part of the equation which is your Emotion.

Em(otion)

What is Emotion?

When we’re talking about The Charisma Equation, Emotion relates to the ability to understand, harness, and convey feelings in a way that resonates with and influences others.

The dimensions of the emotional landscape:

  • Emotional Expression (The openness and willingness to show emotion):
    • Most kids don’t have a problem with this. If they are sad, they’ll show it. If they are happy, they’ll be jumping up and down. As adults, we’ve learned that it’s bad to show negative emotions or it’s bad to show too much positive emotions. A speaker who can express emotions genuinely conveys their emotions authentically through voice, facial expressions, body language, and choice of words.
  • Emotional Perception:
    • This is your ability to sense and read your audience’s emotional level. It involves empathy, active listening, and paying attention to the audience's non-verbal cues. By tuning into the audience's emotional state, a speaker can adjust their message and delivery to better align with the audience's feelings and needs.
  • Emotional Regulation:
    • This is being aware of the emotional state you are in, being able to be in the emotion, and letting your emotions take their place without overwhelming you. For example, my wife tells me, “When I get annoyed, I start banging the dishes around or placing things down without a care in the world.” The more I notice that I’m in this state the more I realize what actions I’m taking. Instead of being defensive, now I notice, “Oh yeah, I am annoyed, what is this emotion trying to tell me?” And I let the emotion ride out. Soon, I’m okay with it. Your emotional distress is a signal. Use it.
  • Emotional Resonance:
    • This refers to the speaker's ability to create an emotional echo or response within the audience. By sharing stories, using metaphors, or tapping into shared values and experiences, a speaker can evoke emotions that resonate on a deeper level, making the message more memorable and persuasive.
  • Emotional Adaptability:
    • This involves the ability to switch between different emotional states as needed to suit the context or to respond to changes in the audience's mood or the situation. Being emotionally adaptable allows a speaker to maintain connection and engagement with the audience, even as the interaction unfolds and evolves.

Emotion in communication or attaining more charisma is not just about what the speaker feels or expresses; it's also about creating a shared emotional experience with the audience.

A speaker who understands their emotions and can tap into the emotions of their audience can move, persuade, and inspire others, making their message not only heard but also felt and remembered.

 

Actions Steps You Can Take To Understand, Harness and Convey Emotions:

1. Emotional Expression:

  • Practice Vulnerability:
    • Start by acknowledging your feelings to yourself. Journaling can be a powerful tool for this.
    • Share your emotions with trusted friends or family in a safe environment to build comfort in expressing yourself.
  • Emotional Literacy:
    • Work on identifying and naming your emotions accurately. The more precise you are about what you're feeling, the easier it is to express.

2. Emotional Perception:

  • Enhance Your Empathy:
    • Actively listen to others, not just to their words but to the emotions behind them. Practice reflecting on what you understand about their feelings to improve your emotional attunement.
  • Observe Non-Verbal Cues:
    • Pay close attention to people's body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to better understand their emotional states.
  • Ask Open-Ended Questions:
    • Encourage others to share their thoughts and feelings. This not only shows that you care but also gives you more insight into their emotional world.

3. Emotional Regulation:

  • Pattern Awareness - Thoughts, Feelings, Actions
    • Journal about your thoughts, feelings, and actions based on the situations that might have triggered an emotional state. Recognize when an emotion starts to surface and the thoughts you have behind them.
  • Pause Before Reacting:
    • When you notice an emotion arising, give yourself a moment to pause and reflect before acting. This space allows you to choose how you want to respond.
  • Seek the Message:
    • Ask yourself what your emotion is trying to tell you. Is there an underlying need or concern that needs to be addressed?

4. Emotional Resonance:

  • Share Personal Stories:
    • Use personal experiences to illustrate your points. This humanizes you and makes your message more relatable.
  • Use Metaphors and Analogies:
    • These can help illustrate complex emotions and situations, making it easier for the audience to connect with your message.

5. Emotional Adaptability:

  • Anticipate and Prepare:
    • Think about potential emotional shifts that might be needed in different speaking situations. Prepare by imagining how you might adapt to different audience reactions or events.
  • Reflect and Learn:
    • After engagements, reflect on how well you adapted to the emotional needs of the situation. Consider what worked, what didn’t, and how you might improve.

Let’s go into the last part of the equation which is Engagement.

 

En(gagement)

Engagement in the context of charisma is being able to capture and maintain the audience's attention, interest, and participation. It's about creating a two-way interaction where the audience is not just a passive recipient of the message but an active and involved participant.

5 Crucial Questions To Ask to Make Your Speaking Engaging:

  1. Is your message relevant to the audience?
  2. Is it empathetic?
  3. Is it logical? Does it make sense?
  4. Is your audience involved?
  5. Is it actionable? Do you have a call to action?

 

1. Is Your Message Relevant to the Audience?

Relevance is about ensuring your message directly connects with the interests, needs, or situations of your audience. A relevant message speaks to the current realities, challenges, doubts, or aspirations of those you're addressing. 

Here’s what you can do::

  • Understand Your Audience: Research or gather insights about their demographics, psychographics, and behavior. Know what matters to them in their personal or professional lives.
  • Tailor Your Content: Customize your message to address the specific concerns, questions, or interests of your audience. Make sure the examples, stories, and solutions you provide are directly applicable to their context.

 

2. Is It Empathetic?

An empathetic message shows that you understand and care about the feelings and experiences of your audience. It's about connecting on a human level, recognizing the emotions involved, and responding with sensitivity. 

To convey empathy, you can:

  • Listen Actively: Show genuine interest in understanding your audience's experiences and emotions. This could involve prior research or real-time feedback during your interaction.
  • Reflect Emotions: Acknowledge and validate the emotions your audience might be feeling. Use language that expresses understanding and compassion.
  • Use this phrase: “Some of you might be feeling” and address it.

 

3. Is It Logical? Does It Make Sense?

For your message to be logical, it must be coherent, well-structured, and based on sound reasoning or evidence. A logical message helps the audience understand your points clearly and see the rationale behind your arguments or proposals.

To ensure logic:

  • Use Clear Structure: Organize your message with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Present ideas in a logical sequence that builds towards your conclusion.
  • Provide Evidence: Support your claims with data, research findings, examples, or testimonials. This adds credibility to your message and helps persuade skeptically-minded audience members.
  • Address Counterarguments: Anticipate and respond to potential objections or alternative viewpoints. This demonstrates thorough thinking and reinforces the strength of your argument.

 

4. Is Your Audience Involved?

Ensuring your audience is involved means transforming the communication from a monologue into a dialogue, where the flow of ideas and feedback is mutual. Interactive communication fosters a more engaging and memorable experience for the audience, encouraging active participation rather than passive consumption. 

 

Here are ways to ensure your audience is genuinely involved:

  • Use Open-Ended Questions: Pose questions that require more than a yes/no answer to stimulate thinking and discussion. Encourage the audience to share their perspectives and experiences related to your topic.
  • Consider Diverse Learning Styles: Use a mix of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic content to cater to different learning preferences. This inclusivity ensures that more audience members can engage in a way that resonates with them.
  • Use Your Audience’s Names: Don’t underestimate this one. Using your audience’s name will draw them in and increase their chances of participation.

 

5. Is It Actionable? Do You Have a Call to Action?

An actionable message goes beyond informing or persuading; it motivates the audience to take specific, concrete steps. An effective call to action (CTA) is clear, compelling, and achievable. 

To create an actionable message:

  • Define Desired Actions: Be clear about what you want your audience to do after receiving your message. Whether it's changing a behavior, adopting a new practice, or supporting a cause, your CTA should be unmistakable.
  • Explain the How: Provide clear instructions or guidelines on how to take the desired action. Remove ambiguity to make the process as easy as possible for your audience.
  • Emphasize Urgency and Benefit: Highlight why it's important to act now and what benefits the audience will gain from taking action. This can motivate immediate response.



You can be more charismatic. Start with one part of the equation and build on it. 

The Charisma Equation: C = E(nergy) + Em(otion) + En(gagement)

Which part of the equation will you work on today?

To Your Speaking Success,

- Kit Pang

Founder, BostonSpeaks

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