Do you marvel at those people who just seem to draw others in by their personal presence and magnetism?

Do you wonder how some people just seem to naturally and magically get others to pay attention to them, like them, and trust them, just based on their personalities?

Do you wish you were more charismatic?

The word “charisma” comes from the Greek word, “harisma”, which means gift from the Gods. But what we often think is an elusive, magical gift is actually something that can be learned.

While there is much research out there on the topic of charisma and how to cultivate it, a study of leadership charisma at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland breaks leadership charisma down into verbal and non-verbal behaviors called “Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLT’s)”. What you say and how you say it are critical to these tactics.

What are they?

Verbal Behaviors:

1.  Use of metaphors

The use of metaphors when we speak allows others to see a vivid visual picture in their minds, and also creates relatable understanding.

2.  Telling stories & anecdotes

Stories and anecdotes humanize, normalize, and create bridges and commonalities with people.

3.  Demonstrating moral conviction

Passion and conviction are contagious and personalize the message you are sending.

4.  Sharing the sentiments of the collective

Showing that you understand your audience and “share their pain” or views.

5.  Setting high expectations

Setting goals that are visionary and future-oriented that others can imagine and be inspired by, like “We will put a man on the moon”.

6.  Communicating confidence

“We will put a man on the moon” communicates confidence. “Getting to the moon is pretty hard” does not.

7.  Using contrast to distinguish yourself and your message

How is what you are doing, proposing, or saying different in contrast to the past or to someone else?

8.  Using lists of three to frame your messages

“Here are the three things we must do” is simple and easy to remember. People don’t get lost trying to find your message when it is framed that way.

9.  Asking rhetorical questions

Getting people to think by asking questions they can all relate to makes your message accessible and relatable.


Non-Verbal Behaviors when speaking to others:

  • Use of body gestures
  • Use of a variety of facial expressions
  • Use of an animated voice tone (rather than a monotone)

After managers in the study participated in training in these areas, the managers increased their perceived “charisma” to others.

I at first hesitated to share this study as I am not one who likes the word “tactics”.  I worry about the notion of adapting “techniques” and the use of them to potentially try and inauthentically manipulate others.

But what I do know from working with so many clients over the years is that many of us sincerely and authentically want to improve our communication with others, continue to develop and grow, increase our influence, and maximize our personal impact.  I share the”tactics’ from this article with you in that spirit of continuous growth.

Increasing our own personal charisma is an important component of maximizing our impact with others and on the world.

So take a look at these verbal & non-verbal behaviors presented above.

How many of these do you employ and practice when interacting with others?

How can you use them more regularly in your communication immediately?

Try adapting more of these behaviors in your interactions for the next two weeks.

I’d be curious if you notice a difference in the way others respond to you.

As always, drop me a note with your thoughts or experiences on the topic. I love getting all your comments


Based on research article:

Antonakis J., Fenley M., & Liechti S. (2011) Can Charisma Be Taught? A Test of Two Interventions; Academy of Management Learning & Education