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Can charisma be taught?

Can a charisma expert take a characterless twerp and turn him into a charismatic dynamo that can command attention and sway others?

Not many would vouchsafe that Tony Blair was a great prime minister. Indeed other than his several wars it’s unlikely he’ll be remembered for much other than a widely held view that he misled the public and Parliament over the Iraq war. Nevertheless he has one quality that many business leaders and I suspect salesmen and lotharios would love to have: charisma.

Witness his performance last week before the Chilcott inquiry – the man oozed the charismatic stuff. Indeed he could well have a first class honours degree cum laude in it!

More to the point can charisma be taught? Can a charisma expert take a characterless twerp and turn him into a charismatic dynamo that can command attention and sway others?

Well Nikki Owen, who modestly describes herself as the  UK’s leading expert on charisma and confidence, has announced her 2010 dates for her Audience with Charisma seminars. In addition to three events at the Globe theatre in London, she’s going on a  regional bringing charisma to the citizens of  Bristol and Brighton,Birmingham, Harrogate and Glasgow.

Some of these places need all the charisma they can get but surely not Glasgow?

The two day course features techniques and exercises including quantum physics, emotional intelligence, Neuro Linguistic Programming, kinesiology and reiki and dowsing. Dowsing? isn’t that what happens when there’s water shortage? Can’t see how that applies to a charisma shortage. perhaps the waving of a forked stick near Alistair “Big Charisma” Darling’s head could be the ultimate test.

My view is that charisma is inextricably linked with confidence, if not over confidence and position. And too much of it can be a bad thing – witness the reverend James Jones and his toxic mix of charisma and poisoned kool aid in the jungle of Guyana.

Yet Jones truly measured up to the Oxford English dictionary definition of charisma as a “divinely conferred power or talent and the capacity to inspire followers with devotion and enthusiasm”.

Which is why, to this day I avoid charismatic leaders offering me a free drink. For my 2006n thoughts on charisma training click here.

About Ralph Savage (139 Articles)
Insurance and legal journalist Ralph Savage has written extensively for the financial and professional services sectors, most notably as News Editor of Post Magazine. He ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, insurers, accountants and brokers.

1 Comment on Can charisma be taught?

  1. John, really enjoyed your article and would like to offer you an experience on my Glasgow seminar – that’s right the one that claims to boost your charisma!
    Anyone can be more charismatic when they feel comfortable in their own skin, are doing what they love and are sensitive to their emotions as well as the thoughts and feelings of others. Give me a ‘characterless twerp’ (your words) and I’ll show you the real person who can captivate your attention – albeit for only a moment or two!
    Have a good week, from the UK’s Leading Expert in Charisma – great title eh?

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