Tall, Dark and Charismatic

As he put it, he wanted to meet and develop a relationship. It definitely wasn’t personal, it was simply because in the not-to-distant future, he knew his employer would be in need of the community development training offered by my company.


Our connection over coffee stretched to over an hour and resulted in a deep, rich, and meaningful conversation about community building and its importance.

And, while I truly am a happily married woman and probably old enough to be his mother, I also couldn’t help but notice that in addition to being intelligent and a good listener, he was an incredibly tall, dark, and handsome man.

Afterward, in trying to explain the excitement of both the man and the meeting to a colleague, I struggled to articulate his charisma and the compelling sense of specialness he exuded.

My colleague finally understood when I sputtered, “No really, he’s the kind of man women leave their husband and children for.”

That encounter got me thinking about charisma—not only what it is and how important it can be, but also whether it is something one is born with or if it is something that can be cultivated.

For sure it’s not always about looks and voices—although he definitely had his share of both—because not all tall, good looking people necessarily have that special magnetic quality. It does however, appear that charisma tends to evoke a sense that you are in the presence of someone special.

Some years ago renowned sociologist Max Weber perceived charisma as a trait or something one was either born with or without. More recently, experts are seeing it as a set of behaviours.

Nikki Owen, an expert on charisma from the United Kingdom, suggests that charismatic people stand out because they command our attention because we somehow sense their character, authenticity, power, and presence.

She also describes five internal characteristics shared by charismatic people that are vital to developing a strong magnetic persona that each of us can strive to achieve.

Owen suggests charismatic people possess high self esteem and feel comfortable in their own skin. They are relaxed about showing their true self. She counsels that if we value, respect, and like aspects of our own selves, we shouldn’t try to hide them.

Those with charisma also tend to be living their lives according to their values. As a result, their motivation and enthusiasm becomes a driving force.

Individuals with charisma have great sensor awareness that allows them to tap into their own feelings as well as the feelings and mood of others. Being in touch with their emotions and being uninhibited about showing them, makes them expressive and compelling.

Regardless of whether it’s on global or smaller scale, those with charisma also have a clear vision of what they want that creates a strong energy of intent that others can feel and are attracted to.

Lastly, Owen sees charismatic people as typically having high energy or life force that exudes as well as attracts even more of it.

Owen believes that someone like my client who has charisma and the above five characteristics, is also going to be much more effective as a leader.

And, while I do get that he has that important potential, it was also interesting just to see how others reacted to his presence.

After our meeting ended, it was pure fun simply to watch heads snap and swivel as he got up from the table, left the coffee shop, and strolled confidently down the street.


Posted on 11-03-15

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