Why is it that some people are always noticed, and others seem to vanish away into the woodwork? Why do some individuals become "people magnets," who can persuade others with a few choice words? The answers to these questions are of importance to anyone hoping to advance in life and to have satisfying relationships. They are Presence and Charisma.
I have met many people who have this "presence" or "aura." In the Eastern world it is often thought of as another manifestation of "Qi." Closely related to "presence" is charisma: a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. In the ancient world charisma was thought to be a divine power or talent, and the word comes from the Greek word kharis meaning "grace" or "favor." There is a small scientific literature on this phenomenon of charisma, which often flows from having a strong presence. There are clearly many types of charisma: Political, sports, performance, business, spiritual, literary. scientific and so on. The only two people whom I've met who knew Einstein told me that people would usually all stand up when he entered the room. Charisma is more than just a personal characteristic; it can also be conceptualized as the way in which certain groups interact with each other.
Clearly some people have presence and charisma. The question is whether they can also be developed. The answer is yes, they most certainly can be. Presence is created by an overall impression constituted of posture, eye contact, stillness, silence, self-confidence, competence and serenity. People with a strong presence are often a little mysterious, in the sense that they tend not to reveal much about themselves or their accomplishments. I have also felt if very strongly in people who have worked to develop the subtle systems of their bodies. One of the most potent examples was a Korean Ki-Master who spoke not a word of English, but whose presence could be felt the moment he entered a packed room. Work on your subtle systems will likely cause you to be more still and serene and to have a better posture.
There are a number of things that you can do to improve your own charisma:
1. Create a strong first impression by developing your presence
2. Develop a good impression when you speak
3. Be a good active empathic listener who connects with other people and asks pertinent questions
4. Be supportive of other people and their aspirations
5. Be persuasive
6. Be resilient and adaptable
7. Expand your vision of what is possible
8. Practice thinking creatively
9. Use humor
10. Be committed and courageous
11. Initiate persistent action
12. Instill hope in the people around you
Dr. Richard G. Petty is an internationally renowned integrated physician, academic and researcher, and an innovator in the field of personal development. He has been Scientific Chairman and Trustee of the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health and he has presented his dynamic lectures, speeches, seminars and workshops to more than a quarter of a million people in 44 countries. He writes a daily column at http://richardgpettymd.blogs.com/. Dr. Petty can be reached at 770-492-3330, and through http://www.richardgpettymd.com.