3 Elements of Charisma

Power

Power is defined in many ways but when it comes to charisma, it refers to the perception by others that you have agency and influence—that you can make things happen.

Some people are assigned power automatically as a result of their wealth, physique, or position of authority. But you don’t have to possess any of these things for people to see you as powerful. Perception of agency and influence are determined in large part by body language and other nonverbal cues, like posture, dress, and voice. Here are a few simple cues that can help communicate personal power:

Widen your stance a bit, open your arms, and own your space—not like a superhero, but like you are comfortable with who you are.    

Sit up straight like your mother told you. Stand tall and hold your head up.

Know when to be quiet and listen. Dominating a conversation doesn’t necessarily make a person more powerful. It can have the opposite effect when people begin to realize it’s become a one-sided discussion.

Nod your head selectively when something important is brought to light, rather than nodding constantly at every idea.

Drop the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence rather than increasing it, which makes your comment sound like a question rather than a statement.

You can probably think of other cues that increase the perception of personal power. But be aware that power-grabs through intimidation or deception will be short-lived. (Think of ex-President Nixon) Charisma is strongest when presence and power are combined with genuine warmth.