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However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill

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Cultivate your charisma

Cultivate your charisma

Charisma essentially stems from our ability to communicate beyond words—through our posture, gestures, eye contact, etc. How can we develop this key factor of influence?


The ability to influence others is a key performance driver for any leader or manager. What good is making sound decisions if you can’t manage to get people and partners on board to implement them? How can you even obtain the information you need to make good decisions, if your team members, close associates, superiors or shareholders don’t really trust you?

Strengthening your influence is thus essential. To accomplish this, the first thing that often springs to mind is to develop your persuasive ability, by striving to build a strong case and present it in rhythmic speech, abundantly supported by convincing data and striking anecdotes. You may also think of developing your network of contacts to obtain essential support when the time comes.

But far fewer are those who undertake to deliberately develop the range of their nonverbal communication. Still, advances in cognitive and social sciences show that this is a much more decisive driver of influence than our argumentative skills. Indeed, we constantly send a multitude of signals and messages through the body. For example, we project our social status in the way we occupy space, our tone of voice, and our posture. We betray our nervousness with a thousand gestural mannerisms. We project our skepticism with facial micro-expressions and changes in body posture. All these nonverbal signals form a kind of second conversation that takes place alongside our verbal communication, sometimes reinforcing it, sometimes contradicting it. These signals are perceived by others and have a decisive impact on our credibility.

These mechanisms are largely subconscious. No one is consciously aware of these games of micro-messaging and deciphering, which explains why the established impressions remain so firmly embedded, as critical distance cannot intervene. The fact that objective analysis has nothing to do with it explains why the resulting impressions remain so firmly embedded. But just because these games are subconscious does not mean that you can’t influence them. How can you channel your nonverbal communication and use it to reinforce your charisma and persuasiveness?

In this synopsis:
- Decipher non-verbal language to learn more about people
- Use non-verbal communication to influence others
- Make more of an impact when speaking in public

Synopsis n.239b