How to Score a Charisma K.O.


At a certain level, having Charisma seems like an unfair advantage. It’s like you are a boxer weighing 30 lbs more than the other guy the night of the bout.

It’s more powerful than Charm. You can be charming and people will find you likable, but they will not necessarily go out of their way for you.

It’s more effectual than Innovation. How many great innovations never saw the light of day because the inventor or company couldn’t figure out how to market it properly?

It’s more versatile than being Physically attractive or Socially connected. Both of these have their limitations and if the person in question is not attracted to you or doesn’t care about your social circles you are stuck.

Part of the Power of Charisma comes from the fact that it works with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Here is where it can be easy for our thinking to go astray.

Ding, ding!

Round 1

Because we see the tremendous power and versatility of Charisma in a certain person, we assume that if we only had the same attributes and did the same things as that person we would also be powerfully charismatic.

So what do we do? We start to dissect the things they do. We start to copy them. We start to match them move for move and then . . . we fail. It doesn’t work.

Just before the bell, we are sent reeling to the mat. Knockdown #1. The ref begins the count, “1, 2, 3 . . .”

We slap the mat in frustration, jump up and storm back to our corner.

Round 2

Between rounds, we despair that our initial strategy didn’t work. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough? Maybe we picked the wrong person? Or maybe, and this is where a lot of people end up, Charisma is more an inborn talent that you either have or you don’t. Or at least it is easier for some people to naturally gain. Because we don’t think we can win anymore, we just go through the motions trying not to lose too badly.

Again, just before the bell, we suffer Knockdown #2. Through the fog, you hear the count, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . .”

On wobbly knees, we make it back to our feet and stumble back to our corner.

Round 3

That last knockdown seemed to have knocked something loose in our understanding – in a good way.

We begin to realize that charisma is created by an invisible, intangible force between people. As a result, each match, each round, indeed each moment is unique and may require different reactions and skills. We start to see that charisma is not about entertaining the crowd with the moves we want to showcase, but more about sensing where the audience wants to be emotionally and taking them there.

Charisma is the ability to sense, and ultimately deliver, exactly what is most needed from an emotional perspective in a given moment.

Now our emotional footwork starts to flow, our conversation and actions start to really connect, and we are leading others with skill and ease. Once we realize what the need is and unleash the right combination to take the person there, BOOM!

We score a thundering Charisma K.O.!


I’ve really enjoyed your company on this journey of the Charisma Chronicles. I hope you left with some good memories and some insights and tools you can leverage to enhance your Charisma.


Joe Kwon
Joe Kwon
JOE, the Connection Counselor is the host of the "Why It Works" podcast and author of the "Unlock Your" series of books. Whether coaching busy professionals or inspiring audiences, his goal is to help you unlock the best version of yourself. A student of Aikido, self-help book junkie, and shaved head proponent, Joe spends magical summers at Hogwarts and dreams of kokyunage. He is the founder of JoeKwonJoe Coaching, which focuses on teaching universal principles through embodied learning. Joe holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Georgetown University, and lives in New Jersey with his family. Joe’s first book, Unlock Your Charisma includes a ground-breaking definition of charisma that finally reveals the actual mechanism that generates charisma. If you can’t explain how something works, you can’t get more of it! Read more about it in his ThriveGlobal article: How to Develop Charisma — for real.

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