By | DAVID HOFFELD |http://www.fastcompany.com/
For charismatic leaders, it all comes down to how you make others feel.
Some people just seem to have it: The way they communicate energizes others and makes people to want to be around them. They have what’s commonly referred to as charisma.
This is no small matter, as any of the U.S. presidential candidates can tell you this time of year as the primary races heat up. Charisma improves the likelihood of success in almost every area of life. Charismatic leaders are able to inspire others to take what they say seriously and act on it.
So it’s no surprise that charisma has fascinated social scientists for decades. Thanks to their research, we now know that charisma is less an inborn trait than a quality everyone can develop, by practicing a few key behaviors until they become habitual.
1. They Exude Confidence
Charismatic leaders exude confidence. Numerous studies have shown that when someone acts confidently, others give more weight to what they say. In fact, Carnegie Mellon researchers have found that displaying confidence is even more influential in establishing trust than past performance.
What’s interesting about the science of confidence is that even if you don’t feelconfident, faking it effectively can help kick your mind into gear. In other words, when you purposefully display body language that exudes confidence, chances are you’ll actually start to feel as confident as you’re acting.
2. They’re Attentive To Others
People like being around charismatic people because it makes them feel valued. That’s because charismatic leaders have trained themselves to be attentive to those they interact with. Not surprisingly, numerous scientific studies have found that eye contact heavily influences likability, trustworthiness, and attractiveness.
Charismatic people focus their gaze and listen so intently that people are often moved by the experience. The reason eye contact is such an important part of charisma is because it both conveys and creates attentiveness: What you fix your eyes on is typically what your mind concentrates on. Simply meeting someone’s gaze can help you listen better to what they’re saying.