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December 14, 2017

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Book Bag: The Charisma Myth

Do you have charisma? If so, think you were born with it? In The Charisma Myth, Oliva Fox Cabane breaks charisma down into its fundamental components, revealing the secrets to what charisma really is and how it works. Women For Hire talked to her.

So, charisma is not a God-given gift? How so? Long believed to be an innate, magical quality, charisma has come under the scrutiny of research scientists who have found that, far from being an innate, magical quality, charisma is simply the result of learned behaviors. In fact, in controlled laboratory experiments, researchers were able to raise and lower people’s levels of charisma as if they were turning a dial just by asking them to adopt specific (charismatic) behaviors.

Let’s take Oprah and Jackie Kennedy. They weren’t born charismatic?  How’d they learn it? Contrary to popular belief, people are not simply born charismatic. But like many other social skills, charismatic behaviors are usually learned early in life, and people aren’t consciously aware of the process. They’re just trying new behaviors, seeing the results, and refining them. Eventually, the behaviors become instinctive.

Why does society place such as premium on charisma? Isn’t competence enough? People’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter; so we need to make a very big impact in a very short amount of time. Charisma is that.

What three steps can any woman take to become more charismatic? First, take up more space. The amount of space people are willing to take up is one of the primary ways in which we assess confidence, hence charisma. Second, keep still. Few things will kill your poise faster than excessive and / or rapid nodding of your head, or fidgeting with your hair and your clothes. Third, keep your sentences concise, and get comfortable with deliberately pausing before you speak or even in the middle of sentences (the mark of a true alpha)

What specific tips do you have on how a woman can become more charismatic in a job interview? Walk in with the absolute rock-solid belief that YOU are doing THEM a favor by offering to invest your time, talents and expertise in them.

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