Charisma is often one of the key attributes found amongst successful business leaders. After all, with good charm and charisma, you can better connect with people, sell more and build better relationships.
President Bill Clinton is well known for warmly greeting people. He’s famously known for the ‘two hand” handshake, as I call it. Firmly gripping someone’s hand, in a traditional handshake, and with the other hand gently grasping their forearm or upper elbow. It’s a warm way of expressing that you are giving this person your attention and that you “see” them. It's charisma.
But how do you demonstrate that in a mostly digital world, with many of us networking, communicating, selling and learning online, behind the cold and impersonal lens of a video camera?
- Look directly at the camera. Eye contact is a critical component of charisma. While meeting over video, it can be tempting to look at the person you’re speaking with. But resist the urge—instead look directly at the camera. They will see you’re looking at them, not your screen.
- Smile often. Although you feel alone in your office in an online meeting, you’re not. Your face is close and big to the other people on the screen. Smile often and look pleasant so that people see a warm and friendly face on their screen. A smile can go a long way in breaking tension and help diffuse the first few awkward moments of those morning video calls.
- Acknowledge people. If you’re in a networking call and someone has made a great point, when you go after them, reference their name and re-affirm what they said, before going on to your point. People want to feel heard. Acknowledging makes them feel valued—and it’s likely they’ll remember you positively for using their name!
- Use chat. The chat tool on many online platforms is a great way to connect with people and add value to a conversation. Don’t use it to promote yourself. Share the LinkedIn links of other people, put tips you hear from other speakers in the chat. Use the chat, not as a tool for self-promotion but as a resource to share with others.
- Have a great background. It’s been almost a year since we’ve been using video more than ever before. By now, every professional should invest in good lighting and a good background. Green screens often look horrible. Consider investing in a good-looking setup in your home to make you feel present, even if you’re not there in person.
- Project positivity with your voice. How your voice sounds is an important asset in bringing out your “digital charisma”. Let your voice sound authentically enthusiastic and cheerful. Video fatigue is a real thing. If your voice is upbeat, you’ll break through that fatigue and get people to sit up and take notice.
- Keep props handy. I don’t do this as a gimmick, but near me I have several unintentional props. A bell, a bright red cup, a Sesame Street puppet and a library of books. Often times, during presentations, these props come in handy. Maybe I ring the bell, or pull a book from my library or do an impromptu puppet show with Ernie. The props, used sparingly, are engaging, fun and pretty darn charismatic! They also offer your audience something they may not be getting elsewhere, helping you stand out among the many virtual meetings that they may be sitting through daily.
- Follow up. What you do online is not all that matters. But also following up with people after a phone call, or video chat is important. Letting them know you care and are interested in developing a mutually beneficial relationship.
If you’re in a networking call and someone has made a great point, when you go after them, reference their name and re-affirm what they said, before going on to your point.
Charisma is powerful. It’s hard to showcase it online, but these handful of tactics may help bring it out. Be purposeful and intentional and morph for the online world. Embrace the “lens” and share your spark with others.
Ramon has started four small companies and sold two of them. He’s an in-demand keynote speaker and event host and author of “Celebrity CEO”, how entrepreneurs can build communities and a strong personal brand. Ramon was fired from the United Nations and a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Learn more about Ramon at www.RamonRay.com.