Another Model of Charisma

 Posted on November 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

I've talked about the power + presence + warmth model of charisma, and about Tshkay and colleagues' affability + influence model, in which they pick six self-observable traits to describe charisma:

  1. Makes people feel comfortable.

  2. Smiles at people often.

  3. Can get along with anyone.

  4. Has a presence in a room.

  5. Has the ability to influence people.

  6. Knows how to lead a group.

If you think of charisma as power + presence + warmth, you can work on the individual components of your own charisma. That is, you can increase your charisma by working on on projecting power (whether personal or social), being present, and feeling warmth.

If you see charisma as affability + influence, where affability might not be the same as presence + warmth and influence might not be the same as power, you can work on those traits. And if you break those traits down into "making people comfortable," "knowing how to lead a group," and so forth, you might increase your charisma by improving those more specific abilities.

One model of charisma might resonate better with you than the other. Or both might feel equally right. If you are working on warmth, you might smile at people more often, either as a result of warmth or as a step toward warmth. ("Has the ability to influence people" is tautological, in our model, since we are looking at charisma as a tool for persuasion.)

In a 2013 article in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, "‘Easy to Sense But Hard to Define': Charismatic Nonverbal Communication and the Psychotherapist," Frederick J. Heide collected some other components of charisma.

Charisma is both verbal and nonverbal. Verbal aspects involve use of metaphor, story, and emotionally appealing language to communicate an inspiring vision and increase self-efficacy. Nonverbal components include paralinguistics (aspects of speech such as variability in volume, rate, pitch, articulation, fluency, and emphasis), kinesics (body involvement such as posture shifts or head movements), gestural fluency, facial expressivity, and eye contact. Although both components are important, the present review will focus on nonverbal features, whose relevance to psychotherapists has been largely overlooked despite their substantial and arguably predominant contribution to perceptions of charisma

We can incorporate some or all of these aspects into our charisma practice. We don't have to incorporate all of them, but what works for me might not be what works best for me. As I find other models and aspects of charisma, I'll share them here.

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