Public speakers are often desperate to show their audience that they’ve got that sparkle of charisma that will wow an audience. But is charisma a learnable skill in public speaking, or is it just for the chosen charismatic few? Let’s find out…
The word charisma comes from the Greek word “gift”, befitting the notion that allure is something you’re born with, and can’t earn. Is charisma an intangible, magical aura that you either have or you don’t? Can you learn to “work a room” with a sly grin and a smile and being comfortable in your own skin?
Charisma simply equals the confidence to be yourself. And I argue yes… charisma is something you can cultivate and use in your public speaking. Here’s how.
1. Charisma lives in your Comfort Zone:
If you’re asking yourself where your public speaking charisma might be hiding, look for the places in life where you’re the most comfortable. How do you behave when you’re at your most comfortable? Most of us have a time when
we’re sitting around with certain people where we feel we’re in the “flow”. Everything is easy. Words come out just right. People laugh. You can see that people are interested in what you’re saying. This is when you are accessing your natural charisma.
We all have charisma in certain situations. The trick is to allow it out when you’re public speaking in front of an audience. Think about where are those places in your life when your charisma oozes out and what did in those moments to get yourself into that space.
Public speaking charisma is about:
- Being relaxed
- ‘Owning’ the situation
- Allowing your unique personality to show
2. Find your Charisma Flavour
Many have a perception of charisma equaling “Something I’m not”, but that’s usually because you have a fixed idea of what charisma is. Surely charisma looks super confident, powerful, slick and funny, with a dazzling smile. Right?
Public speaking charisma doesn’t mean being ‘in your face’ if that’s not your style. Your brand of public speaking charisma might look enigmatic, intellectual, sophisticated, enthusiastic, weird, sensual or something entirely different.
Find your flavour.
3. Play with a Charismatic Caricature
Once you’ve identified how you are when you’re at your most ‘You’, it’s time to bring that charisma into your public speaking.
Make yourself into a caricature by exaggerating that natural charisma in a way that’s almost larger than life (but don’t forget to retain your authenticity). It’s still you, but a larger-than-life version.
If you think of yourself standing on stage, you are a representation of qualities to your audience. Your qualities and characteristics help people to connect with your material, the more “full” a version of yourself you are… the more you can represent yourself with your natural vibrancy. And the more the audience will remember you and remember your message. Turn up the volume a little bit. Give yourself permission to be a charismatic speaker!
4. Find that “thing” you do – your Charismatic Characteristics.
Charismatic speakers are not afraid to develop a style that their audience can recognise them for. After all, an audience likes to know what to expect when they come and hear a speaker.
What is your ‘thing’ that your audience can always experience when you speak?
- Are you the speaker with a nice, serious nature who will always say something that is true?
- Are you the speaker who is filled with bubbly bounciness?
- Are you the speaker who has a video with every speech?
- Are you the speaker who is really open and really vulnerable when they speak? Are you someone who really involves the audience?
I you stick to these charismatic characteristics and give your audience something that they can regularly rely on, then that will help them to see you as a charismatic individual.
In the end public speaking charisma comes down to your confidence level. Do whatever you can to reinforce your positive feelings towards yourself and do not let any negative feelings slip in to block you from your audience. Negative inner dialogue can be one of the biggest barriers we face to being a charismatic public speaker. Challenge your Inner Saboteur and speak with confidence AND its first cousin charisma. “Work the room”, exude that charisma… by being you… all the way, in every way.