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Like them or loathe them, it can’t be disputed that Donald Trump and Boris Johnson both make a striking impact.Whatever they say or do, whatever their hair is up to that day, these politicians have used their magnetism to draw attention and stand out from the crowd.Supporters, critics, satirists, neutrals (if there are any) can’t get enough of them.

The mass appeal of these two unconventional personalities raises the question: is charisma/ impact/presence (call it what you will) innate or can it be learnt?“Charisma coaches” will tell you it can and here are some techniques they recommend:

Be present – give people your full attention, don’t look over your shoulder for someone more interesting, fiddle with your ‘phone or drum you fingers.Notice posture, tone of voice, energy levels

Listen – don’t interrupt or rush to fill the gaps.Attend to pitch, pace, timbre – which words are they repeating?Which subjects are they passionate about?What hints and clues are they dropping?

Sound the part – Speak slowly and remember to breathe.This shows you expect people to listen because what you are saying is worthy of their attention.We are hard-wired to associate low voices with authority and high voices with hysteria and anxiety.Lower your pitch by breathing and slowing down.

Be certain – Humans are attracted to certainty – it makes us feel safe.We only follow if we believe the leader knows where we are going.Avoid vague ambiguous statements, eliminate “sort of” and “like” and “it depends.”Take time to think, then deliver your response confidently and unapologetically..

Mind your language – choose your words with care: replace I’m sorry to bother you” or even worse, “I’m sorry to be a nuisance but ….” with, “I’d like to get together for a project update” or “When would be a good time to discuss …”

Abandon jargon – replace it with stories.Jargon can exclude people and stop them from listening because they don’t understand what you mean.Stories engage and demonstrate that you have real experience of the matter in hand.

Walk don’t run – generally do only one thing at a time and do it at a measured, not break-neck pace.Walk calmly between meetings, don’t send texts as you cross the road or eat sandwiches in the street!Arrive early to lose your coat, your umbrella, your bag.

Act the part – appear in control by arriving with the papers you need for the meeting and a notepad and pen.Set your alarm ten minutes early to read previous meeting notes and ensure you arrive ON TIME.

Look the part – exude power by taking a wide posture, shoulders back, head up, toes into the ground and DON’T fidget.Literally stand your ground.These power poses change your chemical balance and increase the testosterone levels that raise your authority levels.

Dress the part – sorry to be shallow but it really does matter.Dress suitably, ask for honest feedback.Avoid over-high heels that make it difficult to walk safely; make your business cards and pen easily accessible so you’re not shuffling about; polish your shoes from time to time!

Feel the part – If you are shy, take a few minutes out to concentrate on good feelings (think of a time you were successful) to release the positive, well-being chemicals.Smile, breathe, slow down. Then do what you are good at – listen abundantly and show you are interested.



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