Charisma is palpable…
Sometimes you come across someone who oozes charisma. Real charisma. The palpable kind. The charisma that fills the air. You find yourself in the presence of a person and you are mesmerised. Outwardly you’ve listening to him or observing him. Inwardly, you’re can’t help being drawn to this person.
What is Charisma?
It’s hard to explain it. You really have to be in the company of someone who has it. And I mean true charisma. Not the faux type. I imagine there are some celebrities who have it. They have trained to use it. I’m sure that there are also some celebrities who have the faux type, where it is manufactured, not true charisma.
I think it depends on the circles you go in. In everyday life, you won’t often find the truly charismatic person. There will be great people, wonderful people. But I’m talking about the person that shines. That sticks out. That mesmerises you. Stylish-ness is also a part of it.
Encountering the Charismatic person
My first real encounter was in a hotel in Japan. I was walking to the lobby and as I came out the elevator I was immediately struck by the sound of someone’s voice. It was loud and clear and carried over an unnaturally long distance. It had an unusual effect on me. Something about it stopped me.
What was that voice? There was a booming quality to it. As I approached the lobby, I could see the source. A large Japanese man stood in the smoking room. Around him, orbiting like satellites, were three other thin men dressed in typical Japanese black salarymen suits. All three stood facing him, listening to him. One smoked and was in the smoking room with him. The other two were non-smokers and faced him through the glass partition. Their arms down by their sides. The hierarchy was clear. I couldn’t walk any closer.
Something about the scene made me stop. I didn’t fit. ‘I’m not worthy’ to be in close proximity. My presence would have thrown the balance off. Perhaps I should have gone closer. Instead I sat and observed this figure from a distance.
His voice was loud and clear. His speech was slow and measured. I couldn’t understand what he was talking, but it was how he said it that carried weight. His posture was straight and his mannerisms were slow and deliberate. He maintained a curious body posture. There were no hurried or nervous movements. No fidgeting. Every puff of his cigarette was deliberate. He barely altered his position except to smoke. And his dress – this was a typical un-Japanese style. This was no typical office worker. The man wore a very smart suit and an old-fashioned hat. And when he spoke, the others listened. This man was the centre of attention and clearly was of importance.
So he may have been an actor or some kind of performer and was staying in the hotel. A singer perhaps. He may have been performing at the hotel. Later, my friend suggested he may have been a Yakuza boss (Japanese gangster), but we thought why would he be at this hotel. Surely he would be at a more grander one. Whoever he was – for me, I felt that this must be what a charismatic person is like.
Thinking about Charisma
I have met people who are certainly influential. Teachers, instructors, employers, who have done great things and have elements of charisma. But here I felt charisma was being put fully on show. It is unashamedly prepared to show itself to the world. It impresses unreservedly and isn’t embarrassed to express itself. Charisma is palpable in the air, to the eyes and ears.
This encounter made me consider deeply what is charisma and what are its components. So here is a short list of what I think charisma is for a man. I haven’t given thought to what it is like for a woman yet, though that would be really interesting to do, but I suspect some of the factors will be similar. Included below are also some examples of actors who I think give an example of the various aspects of charisma. It’s a bit cliché to do so, but I think it helps define my points. Here’s my list –
Components of Charisma:
Slow and measured. No nervous movements. Minimal unconscious actions No shaking, scratching, rubbing the back of the neck. Keeping fixed eye contact. Fidgety movements seems to make a person look more unconfident, the opposite of charismatic. It is about being aware of these habits and slowly dropping them. Perhaps a good example is Don Corleone or Micheal Corleone in the Godfather movies.
Clear and deep, with a kind of timber to it. Enunciate clearly. Daily Qigong breathing exercise in the morning could help set the voice for the rest of the day. The important thing is to not let your mental state affect the voice. For example nervousness, impatience or anger will affect the voice accordingly, making it faster (anger), too slow and drawn out (depressed), whiny (nervous). You voice is a reflection of your mental state. Also in Traditional Oriental Medicine, we have sound diagnosis. This is based on simply listening to the tone of a patient’s voice because certain sounds can relate to specific imbalances. For example a groaning voice often relates to an imbalance of the Kidney Channel or Organ.
So the voice should be calm, clear with good pronunciation. A good example: Frank Sinatra – google his songs to hear what I mean.
The posture will be different for everyone depending on your body shape. In the example above, the Japanese man was broad. In Japan, most people are very slim including the men. Some people may say he was fat. But that actually made him more distinct because he carried his weight with style. So I think it depends on the individual. However, in his case, he stood upright. His back was straight, his head up. This kind of posture always conveys confidence and even has the effect of making a person look more attractive. Even if he does not have typically handsome features.
Upright posture is an aspect of charisma. For some people, this may have to be worked at to get. Some good exercises to do this are the yoga bridge, pull-ups and just simply consciously straightening up a few times throughout the day. I would put Roger Moore down as an example of good straight posture. He was always tall and lean and seemed to carry a good straight posture, if you watch the opening gunshot scene of his James Bond movies. Also the Japanese actor Abe Hiroshi has a similar straight posture.
Again depends on you. What is the style that fits you/ If you have a rock look, then Gap is going to be unnatural for you. Find your style. That’s important. Don’t let style just happen. You have to consciously think about what look you like and experiment. Experimenting is important. And be self-aware when something is cringe. Avoid copying too much, otherwise its someone else’s style not yours.
People are always paying attention
It’s a difficult task. Women are excellent are styling. Some men are good. I met one Japanese student years ago in London who put a lot of energy into his style. It was unique and I overheard a couple of girls talk about how stylish he was. I was jealous because I knew that no girls would ever have that kind of conversation about me. Maybe that’s changed now.
Many men don’t care about style. That’s a mistake. People are visual. They can be shallow. It doesn’t matter what a saint or a great guy, or how smart or good at your job you may be. They will judge you on what you wear. At the very least, the classic look is always the best. Shirts and smart shoes. Make sure everything fits well and is clean and pressed. And buy a few really good quality items that make you feel good.
This is the big one. You cannot express charisma without self-confidence. You cannot even pretend. ‘There is no fake it to make it attitude’. You must simply have it. It must be you. But how? Well I think it relates to how you live life. If you are following your life script. If you are doing what makes you feel good and it is working for you, then it brings a natural kind of self-confidence to you. Not the type you have to work at. I mean who wants more work in life?
Truly this is a component of being a man. Apologies to female readers if this is not relevant. But perhaps it may be. I think that when a man is unapologetic for who and what he is. If he lives life according to his principles and beliefs and does that he wants to do, there is a certain attractiveness to this, which ties into charisma.
Charisma is Attractive
Charisma is effectively an intense form of attraction. It is one of the reasons women are attracted to bad boys and the guys with an’F’ ‘U’ attitude to society. Instead of trying to please people and society all the time and apologising or kowtowing, they actively say – ‘this is what I want in life’ and then they move towards it. Sometimes having to go against convention, even if it means upsetting the balance. It’s probably the one thing women hate about men the most, yet it’s also one of the things that possibly attracts women to men the most.
Applying this to daily life
Well everyday life doesn’t easily allow us to all act in this way. Perhaps for actors or performers its fine. However, whilst we are at jobs or walking down the street, it’s hardly natural to walk slow and steady and talk loud and clear, in measured tones. We get tired. Our shoulders slump.
The charisma feel is not something to be switched on all the time. I’m sure that guy from my story above is not going to be showing charisma all the time. It could be that when he wakes up in the morning, he suffers from bed-head or is grumpy till he has his first coffee and cigarette of the day. No charisma then.
On or off
No, the charisma is something that we can switch on at will and turn the volume up or down depending on the situation. At a wedding party, you may want to crank it up high. At work, it may go down low. But you want it to be there all the time. So that even when it is turned down low, people will still pick up on it and find themselves strangely drawn to you. I know my charisma needs some working on. And those areas I mentioned above are reasonable starting points. And if that all looks like hard work, well the easier way is simply to start smoking. Everyone knows people look cool when they do that. Just look at Clint Eastwood.