Haris Ahmed (Chicago) management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. has advised many companies through significant transformations. He is passionate about public speaking, having led numerous leadership workshops and team-building sessions.
Charisma – you know it when you see it. Someone enters the room or goes up on stage, and his/her presence just commands attention. You find yourself listening intently to what he or she is saying, and absorbed in his/her speech or performance. He/she can stir emotions inside you, affecting you long after speech or performance. Few people are blessed with natural charisma. Fortunately, charisma, at least part of it, can be learned, which should do wonders for your public speaking skills.
Haris Ahmed (Chicago ) Asks Are You Charismatic?
When it comes to charismatic leaders, the list isn’t short of great men and women who made a difference in this world. There’s Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Winston Churchill, even Adolf Hitler. Their charisma was so palpable that they managed to inspire entire countries and generations. This is not to say, however, that charisma and public speaking are exclusive to one another. One can still be a relatively successful public speaker without charisma. Charisma, in this sense, just helps a person project his/her self-image up on the stage better. Think of it as a megaphone. With it, he/she can be better heard, especially by those sitting at the back. He/she will not find it difficult to hold others’ attention. Compare this to someone who may not be as charismatic, and he/she may have to employ more strategies to pique the audience’s interest because he/she does not have that megaphone to amplify his/her message.
As mentioned, charisma can be developed and improved. Like any skill, it just takes conscious effort and practice. In the context of public speaking, charisma can be defined as the “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Charisma, then, entails pulling out all the stops to “work a room”. This could mean anything from interacting with the audience and tickling their funny bones, to letting your natural personality with all those quirks come out and charm others. Just as what might work for one group of audience is different from another, every speaker is different and has his/her own charismatic side that only needs to be brought up to the surface.
So how do you go about learning charisma? For starters, it would greatly help to know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. For example, if you’re often told by others that you can think on your feet, pulling off funny jokes, perhaps you can further explore this side to you. During a speech, your humor may end saving your performance, drawing your audience’s attention back to you when you feel like you’ve lost it. You can start or finish a speech strongly with a clever joke as well. How do you know then if you’re doing an impeccable job? Easy – you literally and figuratively find that everything comes easy and natural to you.
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