If you aren’t fully present with other people, then you aren’t fully listening.
If you aren’t fully listening, then people will notice.
And when people notice, you will lose all hope at having charisma.
Listening is SO incredibly important… many authors have written about it; from Dale Carnegie, to Olivia Fox Cabane, to Alan Garner.
Olivia Fox Cabane – a teacher at Stanford – writes in her brilliant book, The Charisma Myth, that there are three types of charisma: presence, power, and warmth.
She says that presence is at the base of it all. Presence is the foundation. Without presence; warmth and power will lose their touch.
Olivia writes that only through presence can we truly be listening (otherwise, according to authors like Alan Garner, we may be listening to our internal dialogue instead of the real conversation.) And that, mind you, is the opposite of presence. People will notice. They do. And they have been for a while now.
So you may be wondering… well how do I attain greater presence?
It’s really quite simple. And you’ve come to the right blog and the right radio show!
We can achieve presence through meditation! Olivia writes that we can increase our presence by focusing on our breathing.. even by focusing on our toes.
Simply put, we can enhance our presence by focusing on something that is natural, something that brings us back, back to the moment.
Olivia writes that charismatic people, like Bill Clinton, have the ability to focus all of their energy on the person they are speaking with. They can make their conversational partner feel like they are the most important person in the room.
How? They are fully present. And they focus all of their presence and attention on their new (or old) friend.
Why would they do such a thing? (you may ask) Well that was probably the a) taking a sincere interest in other people. As the famous Dale Carnegie wrote about in his timeless book, How To Win Friends and Influence People.
A little synthesis from me: I think that this principle from Dale, taking a sincere interest in others, inherently creates active listening, and thus forms presence.
The author, Marshall Goldsmith, writes along similar lines in his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Goldsmith writes that people like Dale Carnegie, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Clinton all do one thing in common: they make the other person feel like they are the most important person — the only person — in the room.
A note on Oprah: Olivia Cabane writes that Oprah has the profound ability to switch back and forth between charisma styles. If you watch her shows or interviews, you may literally see her switch from presence, to power, to warmth.
Another note on Oprah: I once heard her say that after every interview… and she has interviewed presidents, authors, astronaunts (you name it)… after every single interview, the person always — in some form or another — asks, “Was that ok?”
“Was that ok?”
I think this speaks to the craving for appreciation (as Dale Carnegie once wrote). The need to be appreciated, to feel important. That’s why “taking a sincere interest in other people, and making other people feel important,” is so vital to a vibrant life (for ourselves and for others).
And this – these principles – are the foundation of presence, and thus the bedrock of charisma.
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