Charisma University by Charlie Houpert

Charisma University is a course written by the people that run the popular YouTube channel Charisma University. It is an online course intended to teach people how to perform better in social situations, whether that be at work, in a bar or at a networking event (or, judging by most of the examples used, at a talk show).

The advice they give is good, though in many cases quite folksy. This is not (nor does it proport to be) a scientific course, and so don’t expect anything particularly profound. It is however, full of useful advice on areas such as making a good impression and how to stand out in a crowd. When we think about it, we all know many of the things what make a person charismatic, the message of this course is that charisma is a skill which can be learned like any other. Here are some of the key points:

Positive mindset & body language

In the mould of the popular ‘fake it ’til you make it’ paradigm, you need to approach situation with the right mindset and attitude.

  • Smile, Smile Smile!
  • Project positive energy – be better than great!
  • Use you body to express yourself
  • Tell personal stories
  • Talk to people not positions! CEOs are real people with real interests like everyone else

Be larger than life

Charismatic people are loud, talk a lot and use a lot of large gestures. This course argues that you almost cannot over do this.

  • Inject emotion into stories by inhabiting them. Use voices, act it out
  • If in doubt talk louder
  • Do unexpected things to make an impact, break patterns

Physical contact

Physical contact is vitally important (this course was written in the days before covid!) It you look at great communicators like Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, they use a lot of arm slapping.

  • Make a lot of eye contact
  • Try and make physical contact with a many people as possible in a group
  • Greet everyone personally

Conversation

Many people think they have nothing to talk about, but conversions can be prepared in advance and you can learn techniques to help conversation flow

  • Answer questions in such a way as to pique your conversation partner’s interest e.g. instead of saying ‘I live in St Albans’, say ‘I live in the greatest city on earth’, which invites another question
  • Being funny is vitally important to making a good impression. Like a stand up comic, have a mental list of ice breaking comments
  • Support others when they are selling stories by agreeing and helping to develop the ideas

Summary

This course made me think a lot more about what it is that makes people be charismatic. We all know charisma when we see it and we can also think back to a time when we were being charismatic ourselves. Analyse what it was that made that person charismatic and try and incorporate that behaviour next time you are in a group situation.

It’s as easy as walking up to someone you don’t know and saying ‘Hi, my name is Trevor, I don’t believe we’ve met…..’

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