• Secrets of Charisma

Six Qualities of Charismatic people



Webster's dictionary defines the word charisma as 'Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.' It then goes on to offer a second definition of the word: 'A divinely conferred power or talent.'

Well then, I'm certainly glad we got that all cleared up.

For the handful of people who actually understand charisma - what it means, and more importantly, the unmistakable advantages it confers - one thing is certain:

What makes charisma so rare and elusive is that its very essence is rooted in a near-complete reversal of the way most of us are programmed to behave.



In this article, I've isolated six key qualities that make up charisma in all its forms.

First, I'll describe each key quality in its purest form. Then, I'll offer you specific insight on how you can apply the principles of each of these qualities of charismatic masters in your own life.

Quality #1: Charismatic People Have a Powerful, Other-Worldy Presence

Study charismatic masters as disparate as Marilyn Monroe and the Dalai Lama, and what you'll notice is that they all have this in common. A magnetic, almost other-worldly presence.

Now here's where the reversal of common patterns of behavior comes in. Most of us have been fooled into believing that presence is something we have.

It's not. Presence is something we give.

So what makes presence such an elusive quality in human beings? The answer is two-fold.

First, the human brain evolved over millions of years with one prime directive in mind - survival. That essentially means that our brains are hard-wired for distraction; Constantly scanning the environment for - and then locking onto - novel stimuli. After all, a few thousand years ago, those novel stimuli were often a warning that something was about to eat us.

Second, our society and culture encourage distraction. In their book 'Positioning' authors Al Ries and Jack Trout proclaim that 'we're living in history's first over-communicated society'.

That was in 1981 ... Decades before Facebook, Twitter and Smartphones!

With so much distraction in the environment, and a brain that's hard-wired to be highly distractable, is it any wonder why we feel so disconnected (even from the people sitting across the dinner table)?

Instant Charisma Tip: The very next time you‘re in a conversation, try to regularly check whether your mind is fully engaged or whether it is wandering elsewhere (including preparing your next sentence). Aim to bring yourself back to the present moment as often as you can by focusing on your toes for just a second, and then get back to focusing on the other person (This simple technique works wonders!).

Quality #2: Charismatic People are Externally Focused Most of the Time

This quality is an absolute pillar of charismatic masters. While the majority of us scramble throughout the rat-race of life trying to become the center of attention - constantly obsessed with the way we're perceived by others, the charismatic master overcomes this internally-focused sense of insecurity by becoming purely focused on others.

Charismatic masters make everyone feel like the most important person in the room.

In 5 years of researching charisma, one name would come up again and again whenever the topic of presence was raised - that of former President Bill Clinton.

It's been said that Clinton's charismatic presence - communicated primarily by his eye contact and body language - was so powerful that it made anyone he addressed feel like they were the only person in the room.

In her book, 'The Charisma Myth', Olivia Fox breaks down Clinton's style of 'Focus Charisma', noting the essential role that eye contact plays in conveying a powerful sense of magnetism.

When it comes to Charisma - The Eyes Have It

Eye contact is one of the main ways charismatic masters make you feel that you are the most important person in the room. Profound eye contact can communicate empathy and give an impression of thoughtfulness, wisdom, and intelligence. You simply cannot be charismatic without it.

Instant Charisma Tip: Two of the most common eye-contact issues people have are lack of eye contact due to shyness and lack of eye contact due to distraction. Either one can ruin your charisma potential, so practice holding eye contact with people longer. Start with your friends. Then start giving more eye contact to strangers. Do this for just a few weeks, and you'll have created a new habit that will skyrocket your magnetic potential.

Note: If you're a man meeting eyes with a woman, always try to let her look away before you do (This one will be very tough at first - but trust me - stick with it, and the rewards will be immense).

Quality #3: Charismatic People Are The World's Greatest Listeners

Charismatic masters - no matter their background - are bound by this simple pretext: They're the world's greatest listeners. And why would a modern charismatic be so adept at the lost art of listening?

Because believe it or not - listening is all it takes to show the other person they're important.

Always do at least 80% of the listening

Make a committed effort to listen at least 70-80% more than you speak. When you do speak, never offer advice unless you're asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because in most cases, offering advice ends up making the conversation about you, not them.

Only speak when you have something important to say - and always define 'important' as what matters to the other person, not to you.

Hold that thought - even if it kills you

Good listeners know never, ever to interrupt - not even if the impulse to do so comes from excitement about something the other person just said. No matter how congratulatory and warm your input, it will always result in their feeling at least a hint of resentment or frustration at not having been allowed to complete their sentence.

Instant Charisma Tip: Master listeners know one simple but extraordinarily effective trick that will make people feel truly listened to and understood: they pause before they answer. Considered a key tool in negotiation, pausing can also play a wonderful role in making people feel good about themselves when they‘re around you - it‘s an easy way to make people feel intelligent, interesting, and even impressive.

Quality #4: Charismatic People Express a Total Acceptance of Others

In his 2001 classic 'The Art of Seduction', Robert Greene uncovers some timeless secrets of Studio-Era Hollywood's most charismatic personalities. Not least of whom was the great Errol Flynn - who despite having been accused of endless debauchery and womanizing - still managed to maintain his saintly aura in the eyes of women the world over.

His secret, according to Greene, was his amoral outlook on life. This meant that Flynn accepted every woman in his life unconditionally and without judgement. In an era where women fell under constant scrutiny, this simple quality worked some serious magic in terms of making him magnetic to others.

Instant Charisma Tip: One simple way to guarantee that you're the kind of person that people love to be around is to become the kind of charismatic master who accepts everyone as they are.

This accomplishes two remarkable things: First, the people you meet will feel instantly bonded to you as their emotional shelter in an endlessly critical world. Second, your ability to accept others exactly as they are empowers you to have the kind of influence over others that they'd never be willing to offer to someone that makes them feel wrong.


It is a universal desire of all humans to be both unconditionally accepted and understood. By knowing this, you can become one of the few people they'll ever meet who actually makes them feel safe enough to be themselves.

Quality #5: Charismatic People Praise Others Early and Often

While I can't claim to have ever been a natural at the all around game of charisma, I can honestly lay claim to getting this one right. As an event planner/promoter in some of Chicago's busiest nightclubs, this was one of my best trade secrets.

(Discover my 'Instant Charisma' technique to become the most unforgettable person in the room here)

As body language expert Allan Pease noted, upon meeting someone for the first time, offering them a sincere compliment meant that they'd actually remember you as taller, thinner and younger!

This crazy but true statistic has been proven in numerous studies since, and yes - I still make it an automatic habit to offer sincere praise to everyone I meet. It's a virtually guaranteed means of always making an unforgettable first impression.

Instant Charisma Tip: You can dramatically increase your charisma IQ by learning the right way to give a compliment. You do this by simply observing what it is that they already want to be complimented on. (Learn my 'clever compliment' technique here).

Quality #6: Charismatic People Have an Unwavering Sense of Purpose

One quality that can truly make someone magnetic is the genuine ability to detach one's self from the opinions of others. The only way a creature as socially-calibrated as a human being accomplishes such a feat is through an unwavering sense of purpose.

Charismatic masters carry around an unmistakable passion for life. 

Whether they are saviors or troublemakers, they radiate a passion that triggers powerful emotions in those around them. Even in seemingly negative emotions like anger, they make people feel compelled to join their cause. They also exude an obvious pleasure in life experiences, all the while inviting others to share in the experience they're having.

Instant Charisma Tip: You can enhance your charisma by sharing what you're truly passionate about with the people around you. People who are vision-inspired and purpose-driven are magnetic to others because they understand that while no one gives a damn about your goals, everyone is yearning to be part of a vision. 

Building Your Own Charismatic Potential: Practice Makes Perfect

Maximizing your own charismatic presence is going to come down to a delicate balance between being true to your own nature and stretching out of your usual comfort zones. As you practice cultivating these six qualities, they will gradually become a part of who you are rather than just a set of skills you‘re learning.



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Make Unforgettable First Impressions

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You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.

That's because within seconds of meeting you, people will have judged your social status, your level of education, and even your potential for success.

Within just 2-3 minutes, they've also decided on your levels of intelligence, your trustworthiness and your overall degree of competence. And although these evaluations happen in an instant, their effects can last for years, or decades - even a lifetime.

Behavioral research has proven that once we‘ve made a judgment about someone, everything we see and hear from then on gets filtered through this initial impression. So it goes without saying that if you're looking to make a charismatic first impression, you had better get it right the first time.

In this article, you'll learn:
+ The Science Behind First Impressions
+ Why First Impressions Are So Powerful
+ How To Make Yourself Unforgettable To Everyone You Meet
+ How To Master the Art of Clever Compliments



The Science Behind First Impressions

Perhaps the biggest reason that first impressions have such an impact is that they're often actually right. In fact, several notable studies have confirmed that we humans have evolved to be pretty accurate in our perceptions of someone's personality - even after meeting them for only a few seconds.

In one study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, people were able to judge a person's personality traits - including openness, agreeableness, emotional stability, self-esteem, loneliness, and even political orientation - with 90% accuracy just by looking at a single snapshot!

That's because first impressions are generated by the fastest part of the brain, which is also the most primitive. This 'reptilian brain' may have been a key to our ancestors‘ survival in hunter-gatherer times, when we often had only a split second to determine whether shapes entering our field of vision were friend or foe. 

Today, even in sophisticated business settings, we still operate on hunter-gatherer survival instincts. Many CEOs and human resource professionals will openly admit that they decide whether they‘ll hire a job applicant within the first few seconds of the interview.  As one hiring manager said, 'The rest of the interview is just window dressing.'

How To Use The Power Of First Impressions To Your Advantage 

The good news is that there's a simple skill that almost anyone can learn to virtually guarantee a positive first impression. And nearly 3 years of comprehensive research on the topic of charisma has lead me right back to the same technique I used over a decade ago.

Looking back on my career working in some of Chicago's busiest nightclubs, I can pretty much say that of all my trade secrets, the most powerful was also the most simple:

pete sapper charisma Between 11pm and 1am, I'd make it a nightly ritual to tour the venue and offer sincere praise to every woman in attendance.

That's right - I said every one of them. 

That meant that if there were 300 women in the venue, I'd make it a point to hand out 300 unique, sincere compliments a night. Every night.

(As you can imagine, I got pretty damn good at it)

This nightly ritual not only guaranteed that the women who came to our events always left with a  positive experience, it also guaranteed that they'd be back for more the following week.

Female customers are the life-blood of any nightclub's success, and it was no accident that our promotional company quickly earned a reputation for always bringing out the city's most beautiful women.

How To Make Yourself Unforgettable: The Power of Authentic Praise 

The power of genuine appreciation is no less potent today than it was 80 years ago when Dale Carnegie wrote one of the most legendary books of all time, 'How To Win Friends and Influence People'.

According to body language expert Allan Pease, complimenting someone you meet for the first time means that they'll actually remember you as being taller, thinner and younger than you actually are! 'So forget about diets', says Pease. 'Just learn how to give compliments!'

Norihiro Sadato, professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan adds 'Our research has shown that the same area of the brain affected in this study, the striatum, is activated when a person is rewarded a compliment or cash.'

This crazy but true statistic has been proven in numerous studies over the past decade, and yes - I still make it an automatic habit to offer sincere praise to everyone I meet. It's a virtually guaranteed means of always making an unforgettable first impression.

(For more: See My Article on the 6 Qualities of Highly Charismatic People)

How To Master the Art of Clever Compliments

The goal of any aspiring charismatic should be to leave everyone you encounter with two things: A positive impression of you, and more importantly - a positive feeling about themselves.


One secret I use for giving the perfect compliment is to be sure that it's uniquely tailored to the individual. I'll do this by simply observing what it is that the recipient already wants to be complimented on.

 - Did the person make it a point to show up in a custom-fit suit?
 - Did they just have their hair or nails done?
 - Are they wearing accessories that perfectly compliment their attire?

HELLO ... These little nuances are hardly an accident!  

Humans beings are hard-wired to appreciate people who notice and appreciate them. So tell people what they did right. Then tell them why you appreciate them for it.

pete sapper charisma coach

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© 2014 . Charisma, Inc.