Let’s talk about one factor that can give you a serious advantage when it comes to being famous in your field.

It’s why you want to follow one speaker backstage after her gig and go home with her, while others leave you cold.

It’s the quality that makes you pick one person over another when they both seem equally suited to do the job.

The secret sauce? It’s charisma and you need it if you want to be a leader and expert in your industry.

Famous in your field tip: three elements of charisma

Charisma doesn’t just help you; it helps your movement, too:

Robert House of Wharton School business professor says, charismatic leaders “cause followers to become highly committed to the leader’s mission, to make significant personal sacrifices, and to perform above and beyond the call of duty.”

When you’re striving to become famous in your field, being charismatic isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s a must.

But here’s the best part: anyone can be more charismatic.

Yes, my friend, YOU can be charismatic.

It doesn’t matter if you were picked last for the dodgeball team in elementary school. Or if three people fell asleep while you delivered your last talk. You can change that.

Too many people dismiss charisma as empty schmooze ability. (“I don’t want to be fake. People either like me or they don’t.)

Or as an innate quality that you’re either born with or without. (“I can’t help it if I’m not as popular as he is. That’s just the way it is.”)

Not true.

Science has proven that there are certain specific behaviors that make a person charismatic. And you can develop those behaviors. Without being fake or changing your personality.

The book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, breaks down charisma as three key behaviors: presence, power, and warmth.

Charisma Myth book

Presence is the foundation that charisma is built on.

Power and warmth are trickier – they must both exist, in order for the person to be charismatic. Power by itself is bold, but cold. Warmth, by itself, is sweet but meek.

Here’s how to demonstrate more presence, power and warmth on the reg:


Being present is paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts. It’s giving other people the priceless gift of your full attention.

Presence means focusing your energy and attention on the moment. Not thinking about something that just happened to you, or what you must remember to do later today. Your eyes aren’t darting around the room, checking out who else is there…100% of your attention is on the person you are with.

What’s the big deal with being present? When we are fully present, we create a memorable moment for those immediately around us.

“Presence is the single most requested aspect of charisma when I’m coaching executives. They want to increase their executive presence or boardroom presence.

And they’re right to focus on it: presence turns out to be the real core component of charisma, the foundation upon which all else is built. When you’re with a charismatic master— take Bill Clinton, for example— you not only feel his power and a sense of warm engagement, you also feel that he’s completely here with you, in this moment. Present.” ~Olivia Fox Cabane

Ever find yourself in a situation and feel your mind wandering? Here’s a way to bring your attention back to the present in seconds:

Focus your attention on the sensations in your toes. Yep, your toes. Doing this for a moment will stop your thoughts from swirling and connect you to your physical surroundings. And that will amp up your presence.


You can show power through your body and your voice.

We’ve all heard that your mind affects your body. But the reverse is true, too. Your body affects your mind. Fact.

I’ve got three guidelines to powerful speech from the book:

1. Speak slowly.

Ditch the nervous squeaky teenager that may be lurking inside. Show some gravitas. (Rushing and stumbling over your words signals to other people that you’re not confident.)

2. Pause. 

This badass move practically compels people to listen to you, waiting to hear what’s next. (It also shows that you are confident in your power and trust that you won’t be interrupted.)

3. Drop your intonation. 

Assert it, people. For the love of God, do not upspeak.


Warmth, the third ingredient in the charisma cocktail is what makes a person truly irresistible. Power demonstrates your confidence in yourself (and I like to hear that.) But warmth demonstrates your caring for me (and I LOVE that.)

And we all like people who care about us.

The easiest way to convey warmth? You already know this magic: smile. Smile when you talk, even on the phone. People can hear the difference in the warmth.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

Ready to amp up your charisma? This week, pick one of these ingredients – the one that you think could use a little boost – and practice it in three situations. Notice the results.

Oooo, I see a spotlight headed your way, A-Lister!


  1. Cindy on January 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Three ingredients to ‘amp up your charisma’, presence, power, and warmth. The cool things is used in an authentic way each ingredient will also ‘amp’ up your personal brand and draw brand ambassadors to you to help build brand awareness if you do practice as noted in the assignment. 🙂

    • Lori on February 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      Ooo, you are so right, Cindy! Working on your charisma will naturally add power to your personal brand. Good connection.

  2. Frances Arnold on January 20, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    This is such a great post. I love the piece about presence. In such a hyperconnected world, presence is all the more valuable. Recently, I gave a speech where I had too much content to speak at a relaxed pace. I did fine, but I did feel that having to speak too quickly wasn’t the best. On the other hand, because it was a webinar, speaking faster may have helped people to stay more engaged. Not sure.

    At any rate, thank you for writing this recap!!!

    • Lori on February 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Interesting observation, Frances. Over the last few years, I’ve found that the less information I try to share, the more people respond to my talks. I think that I was blasting them with a firehose of content, but once I slowed down and hooked into the emotions, people were much more engaged. I’ll bet that you are right about the webinar platform being different though – there’s a higher bar on information and entertainment in that environment.

  3. Kelley Grimes on January 21, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I love this post Lori and understanding charisma as presence, power and warmth. I also appreciate that these are qualities we can cultivate and bring mindfulness to. Thank you so much!

    • Lori on February 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      Knowing that there’s no magic elusive formula does make it easier, doesn’t it, Kelley? We can all authentically cultivate (such a good word!) our presence, power and warmth.

  4. Jerry Stumpf on January 23, 2015 at 10:25 am


    You shared thee of the most core elements for a person to generate in their life.

    For us men, it is uneasy to look a woman in the eyes, as this is how we prepare for battle.

    Watch a couple of boxers at the weigh in and the stare down is intense. However, as you point out, when we do not stay on focus with our friends or business partners, they feel we are not interested in their words.

    Husbands need to learn this trait as a wife does enjoy looking into her husband’s heart through his eyes. A wife can encourage their intimacy by giving him access to her beautiful eyes.

    Thank you for this post!

    Jerry Stumpf – Marriage communication coach

  5. Lilia Lee on January 23, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks for another great post that has really actionable tips. I really appreciate your consistent work on providing help for those of us who need it.

  6. Boost your success in 60 seconds a day on February 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    […] fact is, your IQ doesn’t determine your success. Other factors, like your charisma and your ability to motivate yourself outpace any advantage you might get from a few extra points […]

Leave a Comment