Why is it some leaders seem to connect to an audience with a charismatic appeal, while others do not? Some say it’s a quality a person is born with. I believe you can acquire a charismatic appeal with a few learned behaviors.
1. Be prepared. You will not be confident and compelling if you haven’t prepared. Outline your speech or agenda. Review your key points to ensure the logic and flow of your presentation and your knowledge on the topics. Assess your audience demographic. Talk about issues that matter to them in a way they will understand your content.
2. Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to show compassion behind your words. Avoid acting too reserved without emotion or you will come across as “boring.” Instead try to connect to your audience. Use humor, story-telling, personal antidotes, quotes from inspired leaders, surprise elements and provocative questions to capture their attention and keep their interest.
3. Embody enthusiasm. Charisma has a physical component, so pay attention to your body language. Stand comfortably, feet slightly apart and your hands on the podium if you’re nervous. Learn how to hold a microphone if you’re roaming the stage. Be purposeful in your movement onstage. Don’t sway or nervously move continuously. Direct your attention to all the audience – sides, front, back, balcony – include everyone. Keep your posture relaxed but strait. Breath, take your time and stay calm. Take a sip of water if you need a moment to think. Don’t be afraid to pause, look at your notes, lift your head, and resume. Learn to use a Teleprompter.
4. Practice. Rehearse so you have no surprises. You should feel comfortable with your entrance, exit, microphone, podium, shoes, visual aides, music, teleprompt and all things around you prior to your presentation. You can only get better through repetition. Everyone needs to rehearse. Take your time and have your director work with you onstage.
5. Be ready. Be a pro. Go backstage to the “green room” prior to your presentation with enough time to settle your dinner conversation and nerves. Review your notes. Check your appearance in the mirror. Breathe deep and wait for your cue. Good luck.