We’ve all had plenty of experience with leaders...sometimes we even jump into the role ourselves. But as we can all attest - the title does not make you a successful leader. A title does not a motivator make...and that’s what a leader is - someone who draws the success out of others.
Some leaders have a powerful presence with charisma oozing from every pore. They interact with others with flawless timing and give moving persuasive speeches. How did they become so good? According to Achim Nowak, author of Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within, they followed these 5 tips:
1. Be prepared. You can't be compelling if you're worried about what you're going to say next, says Nowak. Assess your audience and review the key points you wish to make but be sure to take about issues that matter to you. The words will flow with greater ease and with more confidence.
2. Shed the stoicism. "The moment we are in business, we step into what I call the veil of the professional role," Nowak says. “It's tough to be charismatic if your interactions don't have passion, humor, or some other element of emotion and human connection,” he says. Basically, if you set yourself apart from people, it's tough to truly connect with them. Nowak asks his clients to think about when they're at home with their children or out with their friends and when they're more "fired up" and to remember that feeling, tapping into it when they're in the office and need to motivate those around them.
3. Embody enthusiasm. Charismatic leadership is more than just what you say so pay attention to your body language. Notice how you stand when you're feeling comfortable and in control and practice that posture. Work on calming your breathing to appear more relaxed and confident. Smile and make eye contact. Crossed arms and anxious body language will undermine even the most passionate message.
4. Be authentic. If it's not your style to make jokes or use metaphors, then don't, says Nowak. Forcing yourself to adopt a style that isn't natural for you is only going to undermine your credibility, he says.
Get rid of generic responses too. For example, Nowak helped one client increase employees' levels of engagement on conference calls just by changing her standard "that's great" response to more meaningful feedback. "It energized her and energized her listeners. It really is just retraining ourselves to look at how we interact with people on that micro level," he says.
5. Practice. It might sound odd to "practice" being charismatic, but Nowak says it's absolutely possible to increase your appeal and influence through repetition. The "muscle memory" of effective interpersonal communication is as real as that of physical activity.
Good luck in all of your leadership endeavors!