Ten years ago I had a quarter life crisis. In 2004, I was living overseas, I’d just finished drama school in the UK and had come out of a long term relationship. I found myself (as you do) in New York City struggling with extreme uncertainty. At 25, I knew I didn’t want to be an actor anymore, I wanted to be a writer and work in film and theatre, but I didn’t know which country to choose or where to go next. I was in a major down place and the fear and anxiety was beyond overwhelming.
One day I went to The Met in NYC, and I sat down on a bench to take a break. Suddenly, I saw this stunning and dynamic woman, who quite literally looked like she had light radiating out of her. She was with four children and she was so excited about whatever it was she was talking about; it was as if she had sparks of positive energy flying off her and into the foyer of the museum. This is what charisma looked like and it was only after a few minutes of watching her engage with her children in such a high energy way, that I realised the woman was Annette Benning.
I have to say watching this charismatic person in action actually lifted me out of my dark place and to reengage with everything around me in a more positive way. I still think of that moment from time to time now that I’m a mother myself, and try to engage with my children in a high energy switched on way whenever I can (and of course, it’s not always possible).
I’ve met quite a few famous people in my time and I’ve seen quite a few around the traps, and not all of them have this thing called charisma. Yes, many people have it naturally (Simon Cowell describes it as if “there is one person in bright colour and everyone else is in black and white”)- but can it be cultivated? Apparently, yes it can. According to Forbes Magazine the 5 Qualities of Charismatic People are; 1) Self Confidence
2) Tell Great Stories (using humour, animation and conviction)
3) Having open and approachable body language
4) They make the conversation about the other person
5) They are good listeners
Now isn’t that interesting? So here’s a little Charisma Challenge for you based on the Forbes List
1. Next time you go to a party or social gathering, focus on your body language being open and receptive. Smile.
2. When you strike up a conversation with somebody, make it all about them. Find out some interesting facts about them and try to make a quality connection
3. Don’t look at your phone or the clock.
4. Focus on remembering peoples names. Another quality of charismatic people is they tend to remember your name, and will use it immediately in the conversation
5. Try to have fun. Charismatic people tend to have a genuine quality that is evident in their presence.
Love Claire xx