The Charisma Challenge

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charisma myth book cover

Recently, I was inspired by Claire Bell’s article on charisma.  Claire writes that while some people are naturally charismatic, we can all improve our personal magnetism with a few alterations. 

Personal magnetism is an asset anywhere, particularly in the workplace, so I decided to undergo the charisma challenge.

I borrowed The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane from the library and decided to recruit two work colleagues. I explained that if we collectively improved our personal magnetism then we would be the equivalent force of a supernova. 

A combined supernova was not received with any enthusiam by my colleagues. I realised my sales tactic needed improvement but this required a separate challenge. In the interim, I told my colleagues that any increase in charm could potentially lead to promotion. This did the trick and my colleagues were now on board.

The charisma challenge is a four week program. The program involves practising a charisma exercise each week. We would then each compare our results.

After a month we found the following things:

Colleague 1: More people smiled at her during the week. Charisma Total 4
Colleague 2: Forgot to complete the exercises: Charisma total 0

My Charisma

  • People returned my smile.
  • A work colleague who had ignored me for four years initiated a conversation of several sentences.
  • I laughed more.
  • I bonded to the colleagues undertaking the challenge.
  • I stayed more focused on the moment.
  • I temporarily enjoyed my job.
  • Interactions with work colleagues increased and were positive. Many spoke about personal issues and stopped by my office for a chat.

Charisma total: 8

Overall, the challenge was successful.

Unfortunately, I returned to my old habits once the charisma challenge finished. My colleagues did not receive promotions and we never spoke of supernovas again. 

Charisma is hard work.

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Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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