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Book Review – The Charisma Myth

You will probably think I am some kind of narcissist/douche for reading a book called ‘The Charisma Myth’ but being able to communicate effectively with people is a vital skill for anyone. This is especially true if you are more of a natural introvert like myself and need all the help you can get!

The idea behind this book is to provide practical advice on how to improve your confidence and communication skills. It was a really easy read with tips that I felt genuinely made a difference right away.

What is charisma anyway? The author Olivia Fox Cabane suggests that charisma is made up of three important parts: presence, warmth and power. Here’s a breakdown of each in more detail:

Presence – this is pretty simple; basically, listen to people, give them your full attention and stop thinking about yourself so much.

Warmth – caring. Try and see things from the other person’s perspective. Exercise empathy.

Power – your body language will greatly affect how others perceive you and how you feel as well. For instance, having a confident posture will increase confidence.

People will have different charisma styles that suit their individual personality such as:

Focus – exudes presence and confidence. Think Bill Clinton.
Visionary – unwavering belief in their mission. Think Steve Jobs.
Kindness – compassion and empathy. Think the Dalai Lama.
Authority – strong body language. Think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Which one are you? Choose the one that fits you best and you feel most comfortable with. You might be more than one and that’s ok.

“Being present — paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts — can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”Olivia Fox Cabane

One of the key points that Olivia makes is that anyone can express charisma. It is a skill that you can learn and improve upon, it just takes practice like anything else, hence the “myth” that some think it is an innate skill that only a select few are born with.

She gives some practical tips, here are some of the ones that resonated most with me:

• When you are in a conversation with someone, don’t nod your head and say “yep” every five seconds. Note – I was definitely guilty of this one!
• Look people in the eye when you speak with them and listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt. Ever.
• You can get into a positive mindset by listening to the right kind of music, being around positive/calming people and visualising what outcomes you want.
• Have a confident body language. Don’t fidget.
• Smile.

I really liked this book and if the topic sounds interesting to you, go check it out. It is well worth the read.

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