The Charisma Myth

By: Olivia Fox Cabane - Read: June 20, 2021 - Rating: 5/10

From the blurb, I expected a first principled breakdown of charisma and what creates it, and some insightful and actionable steps to increase it. Instead, there are some decent generic tips on how to increase your confidence, but nothing really new or groundbreaking.

For people interested in the topic, I would consider How to Win Friends And Influence People and The Art of Mingling to be better books within the same category.

My Notes

Charisma = Power + Warmth

Your mind doesn't distinguish much between reality and imagination. For that reason, you can use the placebo effect to make yourself actually more charismatic - imagine yourself being charismatic and it changes your whole demeanor.

Steps to destigmatize discomfort:

  1. Remember that uncomfortable emotions are normal
  2. Dedramatize your emotions, and remember that they are a normal part of human experience
  3. Think of others who have gone through it before
  4. See it as one burden shared by many

Visualization is a powerful tool - envision the desired outcome you want to happen and how everything will play out in a positive way.

Warmth is an important part of charisma:

  • Show appreciation and gratitude
    • Visualize your funeral to build gratitude
    • Use other gratitude strategies
  • Goodwill and compassion - actually have someones best interest at heart
    • Use Metta meditation to build compassion
  • Use your body to affect your mind - body language is important
  • You can warm up your charisma
  • Willpower is like a muscle that fatigues - if you're smart you won't try to use it too much for things that can be accomplished in other ways. Just like a muscle, you fatigue it and it grows back stronger, so you also want to continually keep training it and pushing it.

There are many different types of charisma that are good for different scenarios and people: authority charisma, kindness charisma, focus charisma, and visionary charisma.

First impressions are incredibly important - the most efficient way to be liked/do well socially is to do well at first impressions.

The golden rule: people like people who are like them.

Your clothing is very important with people's impressions regardless of how you frame it. You want to dress well in the same style as the people you are around (for me this involves having a couple styles: more casual clothing/my age and then preppy/dressy clothing.

How to be a great listener

  • Be an active listener
  • Never interrupt people under any circumstance in conversation
  • Pause deliberately

Learn how to take a comment well. Pause and take the time to acknowledge it. Express your genuine feeling toward it. If the compliment made your day, then say it.

Deliver value in your interactions. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Entertainment
  • Information
  • Good feelings