There's no single recipe for success. There are, however, a few common ingredients in the making of it. The most successful professionals in any field, for example, often have high levels of education, lots of experience, innate skills and talent, and -- sometimes -- a good dose of luck. One of the most valuable ingredients in the mix, however, is also one of the most difficult to come by: charisma.
"Charisma is a wonderful quality. It refers to someone who has a compelling charm or a magnetic presence," author Judith Humphrey explains in an article for Fast Company. "When you think about charisma, who comes to mind? Great leaders like John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. Movie stars, rock stars, sports players. We assume these famous leaders and personalities have been blessed from birth with that magnetic appeal. But all of us can develop charisma."
It's true: Even if you don't feel charismatic, you can learn to exude it.
Start by being present, Humphrey advises. "Being present means being present to each individual, even when you're in a group," she says. "If you're in a meeting, reach out to individuals as you speak to them, turn your body toward them, and radiate warmth in your face and voice. When you leave, share a parting word, a handshake or a touch on the arm."
Also, maintain eye contact. "The human retina can process 10 million bits per second, while our conscious mind processes only 2,000 bits per second. Our eyes take in more than we can absorb from spoken cues," Humphrey continues. "In an office environment, look at people whenever you are talking to them. Hold your gaze, and make your eyes resonate with warmth and empathy. People will feel the power of your eye contact, and will find you more compelling."
There are myriad other ways to convey charisma. But if you start with these two, you'll be well on your way to leaving a lasting impression with the influencers who can help you create a prosperous and meaningful career.
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