Dr. John C. Maxwell has been a public speaker and motivational teacher for more than 50 years. In his new book, The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication, he shares everything he’s learned from a lifetime of communication. This blog post comes from the book’s seventh chapter, “The Law of Connecting.”
One of the best ways you can better connect with your audience is to develop charisma.
You may be wondering, Is that possible? especially if you feel like you lack it. But here’s some great news: charisma is a choice!
The person who helped me understand this was my friend Dan Reiland. I thought charisma was a personality trait everyone was born either with or without. Dan helped me understand that charisma is present in people who focus on others first. That’s when I began teaching the Charisma Principle: people are interested in the person who is interested in them.
What Does a Charismatic Communicator Look Like?
You can develop charisma when you focus on others by being present, projecting confidence, and creating warmth.
CHARISMATIC COMMUNICATORS ARE FULLY PRESENT.
When you walk into a room and greet others, which phrase best expresses your thinking: “Here I am” or “There you are”? People who give others 100 percent of their attention radiate charisma. They make others feel like they are the only other person in the world. They are present. Having interest in others is irresistible.
I once got to meet with President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. As much as anyone I ever talked with, he was entirely present while we were talking. He continually made eye contact, even when he lifted a glass to take a drink of water. As we chatted, twice a member of the Secret Service entered the office to remind him that it was time to leave for Camp David. After a second interruption, he took me into a side room so that we were able to talk another thirty minutes undisturbed. Here was the president of the United States making me feel important.
When I’m talking one-on-one with someone, I work to be there and be aware. I look for ways to intentionally add value to the person I’m with. When I’m with them, I’m theirs. I never pick up my phone while we’re talking, unless it’s to take notes, and if I do, I tell them that I am taking notes, not reading or sending a text.
When I’m speaking to an audience, I show that I am entirely present in a different way: I focus on what I call my 4 Fs of speaking awareness: feel, felt, found, find.
- I try to sense what my audience feels and acknowledge and validate their feelings.
- I share with them how I have also felt the same way.
- I share with them what I’ve found that has helped me.
- I offer to help them find help for their lives.
This is really an expression of understanding their world and then offering to add value to them where they are. Think of it as practical charisma.
CHARISMATIC COMMUNICATORS PROJECT CONFIDENCE.
Abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher said, “Did you never see a person whose coming into a room was like the bringing of a lamp there?… Their lives are so radiant, so genial, so kind, so pleasure-bearing, that you instinctively feel, in their presence, that they do you good.” I believe what Beecher was describing is charismatic confidence. That kind of confidence is contagious.
For communicators, where does that confidence come from? It comes from feeling confident about their message and from being confident that the time together with their audience will have a positive impact on their lives. Confidence comes as a result of…
- believing the best about people,
- knowing that the content of your message has helped you,
- knowing that it will help them, and
- believing that their response will be positive.
When you possess confidence in those areas, it’s easier to connect – and it’s easier to deliver. If you remember that you’re not building a case for your subject matter but rather building a relationship so that you can help people, you can make a difference.
Several times a year, the Maxwell Leadership organization hosts a training event called the International Maxwell Conference (IMC) to certify new coaches and speakers. At every IMC I get to speak for ninety minutes about the DNA I want our leaders to possess.
I let everyone know “we are people of value who value people and add value to people.”
I communicate to every speaker and coach that I want them to possess those values. But I also instill confidence in them so they can be effective. Why?
- To be people of value, we must have confidence in ourselves.
- To value people, we must have confidence in others.
- To add value to people, we must have confidence in service.
If you possess confidence in yourself and others, and that confidence is focused on adding value to people, you will be attractive to others.
CHARISMATIC COMMUNICATORS CREATE A FEELING OF WARMTH.
People know when you like them, and they like being liked. It makes them feel warm and comfortable in your presence. They feel accepted, valued, noticed, important – special. Warmth creates connection. It creates an environment where people sense good things can happen.
If you focus on others and adding value to them, while being confident in yourself and your ability to help them, you will be able to connect. You don’t have to be perfect to communicate. In fact, trying to be too perfect and polished can actually work against you. There’s something endearing about presenters and presentations that are not perfect. When the speaker is comfortable with his or her imperfections, people are drawn into the experience. So embrace your humanness.
Looking for other ways to connect with your listeners? Read the rest of this chapter now.
John Maxwell is one of only eight people on the planet who have been awarded Toastmasters’ Golden Gavel and been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame. In The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication: Apply Them and Make the Most of Your Message, Dr. Maxwell has condensed 50 years of communication experience and expertise into 16 simple principles that will help you move your message farther, faster. Fill out the form below to download Chapter 7: “The Law of Connecting – Communicators Know It’s All About Others.”
Get the 5-Book bundle and join the 16 Laws of Communication Book Club with John C. Maxwell! Book Club sessions will take place May 5th, May 19th, and June 2nd.