It is common for people to struggle with a definition of ‘charisma’ in relation to communication and the social sciences. Ultimately charisma is the result of excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as these skills can be learned and developed - so developing your charisma is possible.
Becoming charismatic involves paying careful attention to how you interact with other people; the traits that make up charisma are positive and appealing to others. The charismatic person uses their skills to get people on their side, perhaps from a professional, ideological or social point of view. For these reasons charisma is often linked to leadership skills.
Charismatic people are confident people – or at least have the ability to appear confident. Being confident to communicate in a variety of situations, one-to-one, in groups and in front of audiences is a skill that many people struggle with. A charismatic person can not only appear confident in communication but they can also help others feel confidence too, thus aiding and enhancing the communication process. Charismatic people are confident in a positive way, without being boastful or egotistical.
As with confidence charismatic people are, or have the ability to appear, optimistic.This means they try to see the best in other people, situations and events - they usually remain cheerful and 'bubbly'. Charismatic people have the capability to encourage others to see things as they do, thus they can enthuse and enable others to feel more optimistic.
Although charismatic people are very good at showing their true emotions when this works to their best advantage, they are usually also good at masking or acting in a way that makes others believe what they see. The analogy of a swimming swan is useful in this example, calm and serene on the surface but with a lot of hidden activity out of view to the casual observer.
Charismatic people are both interesting, others want to listen to what they have to say, and interested, they want to listen to what others have to say. Charismatic people are often good storytellers, with an engaging manner when speaking and explaining. They are able to communicate their message clearly and concisely, being serious and injecting humour where appropriate to keep their audience attentive and focused. When they are in one-on-one or small group situations, charismatic people will use open, relaxed, body language including lots of eye contact. They will watch for feedback from their audience and clarify their position accordingly. When in larger groups or making a presentation to others, body language will be more exaggerated in an attempt to include everybody.