Photo: Flickr / bpsusf
Extroverts inevitably have an easier time in business. But a new book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism proves just how huge an impact charisma has on one’s success.
Its author Olivia Fox Cabane, who has taught Stanford, MIT and Berkeley business school students on the topic, recently spoke with Fast Company’s Arnie Cooper about what she’s found in her years of scientific research and teaching on the topic.
She said that “no matter what their position, charismatic people also receive higher performance ratings. They tend to enjoy higher salaries and get more promotions.” Charisma can be taught, but it’s extremely nuanced, she told Cooper:
There are two critical things you need to know about body language. First, we can’t fake charismatic body language. Even when we control the main expression on our face, if what’s deeper inside is anti-charismatic, that will come out. That’s because, no matter how well we think we’re controlling our facial expression, micro-facial expressions will still appear. And even if they’re as short as 17-32 milliseconds, people will be able to detect them.
Finally, you control your subconscious mind, which is why so much of this book is actually Jedi mind tricks, like doing visualizations. For example, one way to both feel and broadcast confidence is by imagining yourself puffing up like a big gorilla. Because of the way visuals hit our limbic brain faster than our cortex, it’s one technique that can get your body language instantly to a charismatic state. The secret is to get you into the right charismatic mind to teach you to get a charismatic brain so you then exhibit the right charismatic body language so that then you are charismatic.
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