Martin Lanik, CEO, Pinsight® & Author, The Leader Habit
Would you describe yourself as a dynamic speaker? Do you have a hard time showing your passion? Despite your successes, do you still get nervous when addressing groups? While you may be an innovative thinker with a gift for detecting new business opportunities, if you don’t have charisma it’ll be difficult to get your point across. Fortunately – and perhaps contrary to popular opinion – speaking with charisma is a skill that can be learned.
Passion and energy are contagious. Speaking with charisma will help you to inspire and excite your followers and call them to action. But if your speaking style is flat and unengaging, people will stop paying attention, and they won’t remember what you said. Perhaps you are shy or get nervous when presenting to a large audience. Perhaps you are not passionate about the topic or your company’s vision. Or perhaps you often feel stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed, and you come across to others as having no energy.
Fundamentally, speaking with charisma means communicating with energy and passion, often using stories, similes, and metaphors to make your message more powerful and memorable. In our extensive research and testing of nearly 800 executives for my book THE LEADER HABIT, my team and I discovered that there are three behaviors that effective leaders practice when they speak with charisma. They:
- Communicate with energy, excitement, and passion throughout the message or presentation.
- Ask people to imagine a different future and use vivid, engaging, and high-impact words like assert, emerge, enhance, escalate, manifest, proclaim, strengthen, unveil, etc.
- Use stories, similes, and metaphors to convey ideas.
Once you understand that these three behaviors are the key to speaking with charisma, you will need to internalize them for yourself, turning them into habits. Based on our finding that it takes 66 days to turn a behavior into a habit, we have created three simple exercises that will help you develop this skill. They are:
Exercise #1: Show your excitement.
We naturally respond with interest when other people are passionate, energetic, or excited. Getting into the habit of showing your excitement will help you to be more charismatic and engaging. Use this exercise to practice: After greeting someone, start small talk with a story, quote, information, or statistic you feel passionate about by saying, “I found this very interesting story …” For example, you could say that you found out that 65% of iPhone users say that they cannot live without their device.
Exercise #2: Ask people to imagine.
To create a vivid experience for other people, practice asking them to imagine a different future using this exercise: After discussing an issue, ask the person to imagine a different outcome by saying, “Imagine how different would things be if …” For example, you ask the person to imagine how different would things be if their problem suddenly went away.
Exercise #3: Use similes and metaphors.
Similes and metaphors make descriptions more vivid and engaging for your audience. You can practice thinking of similes to convey your ideas using this exercise: After stating your idea, quickly think about what it reminds you of by saying, “It is like …” For example, you might describe a new smartphone app for dental hygiene as being “like a Fitbit that helps you track how often you brush and floss your teeth.”
If you appear disengaged and unenthusiastic, you cannot expect anyone else to be excited about your team’s work and your company’s direction. Speaking with charisma will help you to connect with your team members, keep them focused and engaged, and inspire them to complete projects on time.
About the Author
Martin Lanik, Ph.D., author of THE LEADER HABIT, is the CEO of Pinsight®, a global leadership development firm. His leadership solutions have been implemented by more than 100 companies – including AIG and CenturyLink – and have received awards from Chief Learning Officer and Brandon Hall. Lanik holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Colorado State University. You can learn more at: www.pinsight.com
[Image courtesy: Pixabay/ robinsonk26]