Playing Follow my (more charismatic) Leader

Transformational Leadership has been widely studied by executives in large organizations for decades. And today it’s relevant to those with responsibility for enterprises of every size and shape – and indeed to every individual.

Because we believe leadership is primarily exercised using communication, we explore how charisma can empower transformations great or small. And how those with charisma can actually set popular expectations – rather than just meeting and exceeding the expectations others have of them.

Great Coaching helped US become an unexpected soccer power

Great Coaching helps US become a soccer power

Strip away the management jargon and transformational leadership is really just what your grandmother was practicing, if she ever she taught you how to bake better cakes, or to sew a neater patchwork quilt. Likewise, the coach of every national soccer team that made it past the group stage at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, proved himself a devotee of the three-step skills rule:

First: Standardize and build absolute consistency in your chosen field. (Cakes that are never burned, never undercooked; passes that connect to players every single time.)

Second: Get better and better at what you do, till continuous improvement has delivered every last watt/gram/centimetre of efficiency. (Quilts that take less time, use less material; a shot on goal from every set piece).

Finally: Deliver breakthrough improvements through real innovation and disruptive change. (End-to-end creative play that wrong-foots the goalie and leaves the opposition standing. After perfecting cakes, why not try croissants?)

At each step, the leader will need to recruit followers by lowering their barriers of mistrust or disbelief. That’s where charismatic communication comes in.

In the business world, there’s no better example of this than the astonishing growth of online retailer Amazon. Back in 1995, founder Jeff Bezos built an online bookstore that delivered books cheaply and reliably, without his customers having their credit card details stolen.

By 1998 Amazon was piling on incremental improvements with advanced delivery options plus ever lower prices and interactive customer reviews; sites that spanned the globe, and by widening its range through Marketplace to today’s astonishing 230 million product lines.

By 2006, Amazon was in full innovation phase, launching cloud computing services, set-top boxes, the Kindle eBook, and ideas like the PrimeAir package delivery drone. Advanced CRM means customers just don’t pick and choose products –their preferences are picked and chosen by Amazon. Now comes the game-changing Fire Phone that, says the Economist, “will turn the whole world into a shop window” – only delivered through Amazon.

Three steps to global mastery: Amazon's rise since 1994

Three steps to global mastery: Amazon’s rise since 1994

At every stage, founder Jeff Bezos (now wealthy enough to be a space entrepreneur of the side) creating followers by setting expectations. Look back over the old business news TV clips of 15 years ago and you’ll find Jeff Bezos repeating over and over: “Don’t buy Amazon stock if you want dividends or a safe ride. We’re building a valuable company – but it will take time.”

No wonder then, that The Economists cover article on Amazon shows – perhaps only half jokingly – an astronaut delivering a parcel on the moon.

"To Infinoty and Beyond" with Amazon

“To Infinity and Beyond” with Amazon

Of course, there’s much more to both Amazon’s success and the transformational leadership concept than a simple three-step rule. Above all it identifies the next evolutionary step that comes after mastery of practical efficiency in the field of transactional leadership, or hierarchy in the field of traditional leadership.

These three leadership models were first defined by the German sociologist Max Weber in 1947. Crucially, Weber identified the transformational leader as using communication skills to set expectations and bring about change by articulating creative and visionary expectations.

Weber didn’t just emphasize that transformational leadership was a communication function. He specifically identified the ‘charismatic leadership’ qualities that set aside exceptional leaders as having to do with  the power to motivate or engage  followers through their  vision.

James MacGregor Burns, a Pulitzer prize-winning biographer of President Roosevelt and management guru, took the Weber concept further by showing how transformational leaders build influence that in turn generates respect, admiration and trust among their followers, sometimes causing them to emulate the leaders’ behaviors. These attributes of charisma were explored by sociologists such as the Wharton School’s Robert J. House (no relation).

In his 1978 book Leadership, Burns explored how transformational leaders used their relationship skills to accomplish common goals through motivation. This type of skill involves mobilizing, inspiring, exalting, and uplifting, rather than using power for its own sake. While transactional leadership depends on give and take, Burns described transformational leadership as a process where “leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation.”

Empathy Profile #1

Mobilising, Inspiring Profile #1

Mobilising, Inspiring Profile #2

Mobilising, Inspiring Profile #2


In his 2004 Book Transformational Leadership Stephen Hacker probes a little deeper into what actually makes such a manager and what attributes accompany each character facet.

First comes enterprise mastery – or being “good at what we do.” This calls for analytical skills and drive or energy. Here the focus is inward and will likely focus on standardization (the first of the three steps).

Next comes interpersonal mastery – or being “good together and in the world.” Here the focus is outward and involves community and meaningful interactions. Often this involves the process of continuous improvement of process or actions (the second of the three steps).

Finally, comes self-mastery – or being “good at changing ourselves and the world.” Here the focus is on transformation itself –bringing ideas and change into the world. The crucial attributes for bringing such change into being both focus on communication. These are to be both creative and visionary. This, of course, is the third step.

As you can see, these thinkers established much of the groundwork upon which today’s discipline of Emotional Intelligence, created by Daniel Goleman, is based. Goleman’s recent emphasis on empathy as a leadership attribute goes straight back to Weber’s pioneering thought. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Goleman said that empathy and the ability to understand the emotional make-up of other people was a sine qua non of great leadership.

Crucially, Weber identified the transformational leader as using communication skills to set expectations and bring about change by articulating creative and visionary potential. He identified these as ‘charismatic leadership’ qualities.

It’s no coincidence that, just like Max Weber, Communicate Charisma works to visualize, map and measure this key leadership attribute. The charts you see accompanying the portraits of Nelson Mandela (above) and Martin Luther King (below)  depict the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ charisma portraits created by you online using our own system.

Think about any really effective leader you care to name, and you’ll see that his or her power to make a difference didn’t come from the ability to make the trains run on time, or to build a consistently better mousetrap. It comes from having the power to communicate potential for deep change of the kind that Jeff Bezos delivered through Kindle, or a dozen other innovations that have left both Apple and Google (no slouches themselves) gasping.

Vision Profile # 1

Vision Profile # 1

Vision profile #2

Vision profile #2

Transformational leaders don’t deliver change by meeting or exceeding expectations – they do it be setting expectations. And every time, that’s done through effective communication. Not simply knowing “what to say” (the message), or even “how to say it” (the narrative), but knowing “who to be” (persona).

In coming weeks we’ll look further into the attributes of Transformational Leadership. And we’ll explore a piece of good news: Everyone has some charismatic power of influence. Perhaps your persona manifests itself best through empathy; perhaps it’s through collaboration – or any one of the Seven Dimensions of Charisma we have identified and built into our methodology.

It’s just a matter of uncovering and then getting to know your forte as a communicator and influencer. And Communicate Charisma may be able to help with that.

Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services (Part III)

Charisma  Sells!

If you’re in the professional services business, you’ll know selling yourself effectively is 90% of success. Clients are buying your persona just as much as your expertise.

If a new client relationship  is developing well, you may notice the service has been effortlessly bought in without question and you’re expected to take your place at the top table as a trusted adviser.

But when  clients respond to your pitch with pointless questions, calls for endless changes, and then demand a discount, it’s a safe bet your persona has been disregarded and your light  is hiding beneath the proverbial bushel.

Are we each doing our best to help our light shine out?

Are we each doing our best to help our light shine out?

In the first scenario, clients feel the instant rapport that stimulates them to lower natural barriers of distrust. In the second, listeners are probably unable to experience the personal charisma that you’re hiding somewhere.

Traditionally, service providers have focussed on enhancing their technical skills to increase their value in the market place. But it’s not how many courses, seminars or workshops a professional has attended that may determine whether he or she makes a sale.

Charisma can do many things for all of us, but it can also help  sell professional services. In previous posts we have looked at the “don’ts” – unconscious behaviours or acquired communication habits that can alienate clients or rouse their suspicions.

Now it’s time  for the “dos” – a review of success factors in communication  to see where each person can use his or her innate resources to increase  influence.

This post is not about “sales technique.” Just the reverse in fact – it’s about recognising and uncovering inner authenticity that wins trust over time, rather than adopting a rules-based formula whose effectiveness may be short-lived.

prof servs 2

Whatever your stripe, charisma will help you sell more.

To view a definition of what charisma is and how it works, visit

Charisma is an amalgam of seven classic personality areas. These form the bedrock of all social behaviour, and for each individual we find a unique distribution of energy in each of these dimensions. What’s common to all charismatic people is that they are able to lower barriers of distrust and to quickly build a rapport that allows them to influence others.

The seven dimensions  and the classification of  energy types come from the Communicate Charisma methodology. This allows anyone to  visualise, map and measure their own charisma, using a simple online self-assessment. Via the work of Carl Jung, Communicate Charisma shares a common ancestor with other well-known methodologies based on personality typing.

We commonly associate charisma with being engaging, energetic, popular. But using charisma doesn’t mean being a popstar or someone famous for their power and influence. The quiet, influential and possibly grumpy person at the back of the room who crystallizes everyone’s thought and leads the group to a unanimous conclusion, is every bit as charismatic. Likewise in terms of effect, the dogged persuader who convinces the other 11 jurors to change their verdict is every bit as charismatic as the TV evangelist. It’s all about results!


Results, not flair, are true proof of charisma

Because charisma can manifest itself though restrained as well as effervescent styles, we will review the effects of  both high and low energy. However because we are trained to support  the “Goldilocks approach” or Golden Mean of behaviour that is “neither too hot nor too cold,” many of the most effective communication styles will lie right in the middle  of the energetic range.

It’s important to state there aren’t any Rights or Wrongs, just communicative behaviours that are appropriate to circumstances – or otherwise.

The charts below are extracts from the charisma mapping methodology developed by Communicate Charisma. This is based upon a simple online self-assessment available to those contacting  Communicate Charisma  here to request a referral code. The self-assessment test creates a report that shows in detail how each individual projects his or her charisma, and what  essence that charisma is composed of. The seven dimensions of charisma look like this:


How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.

How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look in 7D.

Let’s review the seven dimensions of charisma and see what delivers effectiveness to communicators both at the upper and lower ranges, and in the middle.


High-energy Strengths: Positive aggression and confidence are certainly key attributes for alert service providers, helping to shift perceptions and drive buyer decisions. If don’t feel 100% confident of your service, why should a client?

Low-energy Strengths: Few CEOs want to be outshone by external advisers or consultants. So a combination of sensitivity and intuition helps those with modest Self-assurance to use tact to deliver positive outcomes.

Golden Mean: Confident.

Self assurance av


High-energy Strengths: Communicating what we know to be true without ambiguity or compromise galvanizes potential buyers and makes them want to “be part of it.” Expressing convictions – sometimes fervently – can de decisive.

Low-energy Strengths: Leaving would-be buyers to make up their own minds earns healthy respect. So quiet confidence and values-based conduct often earns more client trust than operating from an evangelist perspective.

Golden Mean: Convinced.

Empathy av 2


High-energy Strengths: Sharing spirits are contagious. Work is enriched when we’re sensitive to group dynamics and the needs of our clients. Collaboration types can build trust and get the best interaction with temporary colleagues around whom they’ll be working during an assignment.

Low-energy Strengths: Self-starters such as consultants must initiate tasks independently and take responsibility for tough decisions. Then they will be valued by managers and leaders. Outsiders are often chosen precisely because they must be detached.

Golden Mean: Team Player

Collaboration av 2


High-energy Strengths: Clients can recognize true change agents able to fire their people up and push them further. This hyperactive rush of energy wins sympathy for new ideas even when the style is demanding and perhaps even forceful.

Low-energy Strengths: A mature “laissez faire” approach that’s sensitive to circumstances can contrast favourably with misguided enthusiasm or dogged insistence.

Golden Mean: Motivated.

Drive Av


High-energy Strengths: Emotional intelligence  breaks down  rigidity and mistrust that often confronts external consultants. The rapport generated by open-hearted solidarity wins over those team members suspicious of  ‘outsiders’.

Low-energy Strengths: Cutting through emotional clutter to focus resolutely on the goal in hand gets results for external advisers. Making hard business choices is a lonely and responsible activity that calls for discipline and detachment.

Golden Mean: Understanding.

Empathy av 3


High-energy Strengths: When invited into the client workplace, those presenting ideas with integrity are ensured a following and will win the trust that increases influence. Firm refusal to accept compromises or yield to pressure also confers authenticity.

Low-energy Strengths: External consultants or service providers must frequently keep  positions open, showing tolerance and open-mindedness about other values as they negotiate a bigger role.

Golden Mean: Coherent.

Values av


High-energy Strengths: With Vision comes the power to influence and persuade clients to make changes, by showing them what’s just over the horizon. This can unite people and show them  short-term difficulties will pass.

Low-energy Strengths: A solid, fact-based view of life avoids dangerous ‘leaps of faith’ and  unproven or untested propositions. Focusing only on what is known to be true avoids disappointment, while reassuring clients of integrity.

Golden Mean: Perceptive.

Vision av

Every adult knows their behaviour should be context-sensitive and they should be attuned to  the  body-language of those around them.

But that advice is hard to follow because of the “somatic”  power of  old habits. As we begin communicating, we automatically slip into a default “transmission mode” built up over years. Influences from family, school and the workplace have forged our emotional anatomy in such a way that we may  unconsciously use communication styles that frustrate our own purposes.

Mapping our emotions onto the body

Mapping our emotions onto the body

One way to get a handle on this is to visualise what we are really doing, to understand why we are doing it  —  and then begin a process of change.

Traditionally, this is how actors learn “method.” But few business people — let alone  service providers — are ready for drama school. Instead,  visualising charisma by mapping, measuring and eventually managing it, offers a personal development route toward balanced and effective communications.

And when we communicate effectively, we create a rapport that allows us to influence others. And of course, that can mean selling more too.

If you’d like to find out more about the Communicate Charisma methodology and our interactive workshops, please visit our site to request a self-assessment.


2014 World Cup of Charisma

Every four years, the FIFA World Cup transforms a handful of sportsmen into household names, globally recognizable even to those of us who don’t follow football. Less for the goals they score, more for their style off the field during the tournament.

With up to a billion people following the month-long tournament on TV, the World Cup is both a laboratory and a public stage for the workings of charisma. We see the making – and the breaking – of sporting heroes up close.

Take it easy: this post doesn’t claim to show how you too can become just like Ballon D’or heroes Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Soares or Lionel Messi. It’s just to point out that we all have something to learn from watching the charismatic behaviour of these star footballers.

Golden Ball: Stars like Messi are working your emotions

Golden Ball: Stars like Messi are working your emotions

So, as you’re enjoying the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches – and perhaps being transported into pure football passion – you can observe how these players are working just as hard with your emotions as they are with the ball.

What they are doing is using charisma to get us to follow them.

Charisma is the ability of certain subjects to establish instant rapport, so lowering barriers of distrust and thereby increasing their influence over others. Not just as for sportsman, but for all of us, for life. Charisma is the unique combination of behaviours, vital energy, verbal style and body language that makes up our personal communication style and helps define effectiveness in influencing other people.

Above all, charisma can be defined as the way groups can be influenced by certain individuals. The World Cup is a stunning display of how mass audiences voluntarily project their “followership” onto certain players – all because of the way they are perceived. To explore the definition, you can visit the Communicate Charisma website and get to know the Seven Dimensions of charisma.

Philosopher, poet - and charismatic player: Eric Cantona

Philosopher, poet – and charismatic player: Eric Cantona

There is no right or wrong about charisma, and what distinguishes it is not so much the way people project it, but the effect it has on audiences. German sociologist Max Weber defined charisma as the way leaders are perceived. He wrote: “What is alone important is how the individual is actually regarded by those subject to charismatic authority, by his followers.”

Becoming a hero of the ‘Beautiful Game’ is as close as our secular age gets to the charisma reserved in ancient or medieval times for saints and prophets. Previously we have looked in detail at the way star athletes like Usain Bolt transformed the 2012 London Olympics into the ‘Charisma Games.’

Winning influence, gaining trust and being rewarded with acceptance, are all classic charisma attributes that we associate with football heroes. Think of a few:

Diego Maradona used his "Hand of God"

Diego Maradona used his “Hand of God”

In the 1986 Mexico World Cup, the “Hand of God” justification used by Argentina’s Diego Maradona to explain use of his hand to score against England in a quarter final, undoubtedly contributed later to the mood of invincibility that secured his team victory against Germany, and the Jules Rimet trophy.

After the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin, when France lost to Italy on penalties after Zinedine Zidane was sent off for head-butting an Italian player who had issued racist taunts, the French captain stunned the political establishment to become a national hero and symbol of racial integration.

The art of  Head-butting: Sculpted tribute to Zidane

The art of Head-butting: Sculpted tribute to Zidane

Conversely, in the 1998 World Cup final against France, the psychological and physical meltdown of Brazilian striker Ronaldo caused widespread humiliation in Brazil that took years to recover from. It also took years for England striker David Beckham to rehabilitate himself after getting sent off for kicking an Argentinian player during an earlier stage of the same tournament.

Tortured legacy: Ronaldo's breakdown still rankles.

Tortured legacy: Ronaldo’s breakdown still rankles in Brazil.

And now for 2014, Brazil looks anxiously toward wing forward Neymar to take up the mantle of the nation’s leading sporting legend Pelé. Both men got their start at the Santos football club, and both have had their share of off-pitch controversy (Neymar for financial dealings with European clubs). Pelé, of course helped Brazil to triumph in 1958, in 1962 and then in 1970 in Mexico City, later becoming World Player of the Century.

Neymar showed Charisma in South Africa

Neymar showed Charisma in South Africa, saluting a young pitch invader.

As we’ll see, one of the characteristics of Charisma is “being a tough act to follow.” Pelé had it – and still has – by the bucket-load, so host-country pressure on the slim, 62 Kg Neymar is intense.

And so it has been through decades of European football, where the best-known legends have been those with strong and often tortured personalities, such as poet-philosopher Eric Cantona, tearaway humourist George Best, pugnacious Ruud van Nistelrooy, and ‘flawed genius’ Paul Gascoigne. Latterly, Italy’s “Super Mario” Balotelli of AC Milan has clowned his way to stardom.

Best at football. Best joker. Simply George Best

Best at football. Best joker. Simply George Best

For them, carefully-nurtured charisma off the field surely contributed to the myth of invincibility during play. Sometimes, as in the case of Gary Lineker, it’s opened the way to lucrative media careers.

The managers who inhabit the liveliest space in the popular imagination are the charismatic ones — figures such as José Mourinho of Chelsea or Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United. This last redoubled his charisma simply by leaving the stage. The failure of successor David Moyes to continue Manchester United’s winning run after Ferguson’s retirement simply confirmed the former’s charismatic status.

Sir Alex Ferguson proved an impossible act to follow.

Sir Alex Ferguson proved an impossible act to follow.

How do we know that the 2014 FIFA World Cup stars really have charisma? Well, we can become part of a collective intelligence or “the wisdom of crowds” to measure it.

Communicate Charisma has developed a methodology to map, measure and visualise personal charisma. Though it’s primarily a tool for personal development, we can also apply it to understand the charismatic behaviour of famous individuals, from Martin Luther King, to Barack Obama and even Christiano Ronaldo.

Using online tools, Communicate Charisma is now collecting popular judgements about the style of  ‘Great Communicators’ from politics, international affairs, celebrity and, yes – from sport.

Oprah Winfrey, First Lady of TV charisma

Oprah Winfrey, First Lady of TV charisma


You can complete the assessment of a “Great Communicator” by following this link. You’ll be helping us to build a database of Great Communicators – sporting or otherwise. Thanks to collective intelligence, the more people completing the surveys, the more accurate the portraits we can publish.

Enjoy the World Cup! And gain extra insight into the games by seeing how the greatest players don’t simply exhibit ball control – they have ‘charisma control’ too.

Communicate Charisma Seven Dimension plot yields 105 variants

How the map for a hard-driving but empathy-challenged World Cup striker might look.


Charisma Sells! Part II

Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services: Part II

You know your product is good. But clients don’t always respond positively to the pitch.

So, like every professional service provider who’s ever experienced difficulty with closing sales you ask yourself: “is there something about my style that’s putting people off?” Chances are, the answer is Yes.

In the last posting we began examining the forces that can lead professionals selling their valuable services to experience client hesitation, “kickback” or negotiations that may force you to accept lower margins. Something needs to be addressed if  the sales process regularly feels  like this:

Are you the hammer or the anvil when it comes to closing sales?

Are you the hammer, the anvil  or something  in between when it comes to closing sales?

By contrast, we’ve all experienced that magical moment at client meetings –  just like catching a fish when you least expect it – when you realize your company’s services have been bought in, apparently without any conscious effort on your side. There you are, a trusted adviser at the top table, wondering if it was just luck or something that you did right.

Yoou must have done something right: but exactly what was it ?

You must have done something right: but exactly what was it ?

Actually, big brands as well as smaller service provider companies  are busy with the same thought process. A recent survey  by Corporate Executive Board  quoted in this blog found that Brands that can connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see 2 times more impact.

Out there, you’ll find an infinity of books, training and guides to develop assertive sales  techniques. These tactics will surely give a short-term lift. But what if they don’t address the deeper and more lasting effect you might have on people?

That’s where charisma comes in.  As we’ve seen, charisma is the ability to establish instant rapport, so lowering barriers of distrust and thereby increasing influence over others. Not just as a salesman, but for life. Charisma is the unique combination of behaviours, vital energy, verbal style and body language that makes up our personal communication style and helps define our effectiveness in influencing other people.

There is no right or wrong about charisma.  And everybody has some, even if we’re seldom in touch with it. But there is greater and lesser effectiveness. And there is appropriateness to context. Just as purple or orange won’t  suit every wall, so communication styles must fit the context.

prof servs 2

We know that not everyone  can get away with telling a joke about the deceased during a funeral oration. And for a wedding speech in front of a family crowd, telling that anecdote about the bridegroom’s past sexual indiscretions generally falls flat  – even though it seemed so funny in a bar during the stag night.

In just the same way, it may be that the default communications style being used to sell product just isn’t right. You may not even recognize what it is you are doing.

In the last post, we  differentiated between the ‘Influencers’ – those able to gain acceptance for their pitch while enjoying opinion leader status and premium pricing;  and the ‘Malleables’ – those who get pushed around and forced to accept  rethinks, compromises, and discounts.  This time we’ll look in detail at how the ‘Malleables’ may be allowing the limitations of their charisma profile to get in the way of effective sales and execution.

The ranking of these behaviour types and the way they affect personal charisma isn’t a random list of the “ten useful habits” variety.  This is all part of a complete methodology designed to boost  effectiveness by mapping, measuring and managing the way we influence others. Communicate Charisma offers the tools to visualise each person’s individual charisma assets, and so offer professionals vital clues in how they might modify their profiles to raise effectiveness. For an overview of our online self-assessment process and methodology, visit

How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.

Each Pizza slice represents an aspect of your communicative self.

Charisma is really the combined result of  behaviours in each  of these seven dimensions or classic personality areas  that form the bedrock of all social behaviour. The types of energy or behaviour that can alienate or antagonize customers tend to show at the margins of each category, while “social behaviour” tends to occupy the median zone. So acquiring the ability to “dial down” or “ramp up” behaviours in specific areas where we we may find either very high or very low levels of energy, is a useful skill.

It’s tempting to think that mobilizing high levels of energy will usually guarantee success, while more discreet postures signify weakness. Yet this isn’t always so. Bragging, boasting and self-aggrandizing tends to put off customers, while modesty and discretion are seen as virtues in trusted advisers – within reason. A posture that’s too compliant,  dependent  or self-effacing  will also have negative impact.

Here are the types of limiting behaviours typical of ‘Malleable’ types in each of the seven charisma dimensions.


High-energy limitations: ‘Über’ service providers who dominate pitch meetings with too much self-assurance are unlikely to be active listeners and may seem arrogant or insensitive,  quickly alienating clients.

Self Assurance Authoritative 2

Low-energy limitations: Reclusive behaviour or low self-esteem makes it harder for clients to find “reasons to buy” and looks just like extreme shyness. Clients prize service providers modeling more decisive and extrovert behaviour.

Assurance Discreet 2


High-energy limitations: Overly strong beliefs and tireless convictions quickly translate into the kind of sales pressure that may smack of desperation. Refusal to listen to or respect potential clients, will quickly forfeit their trust and render the sales pitch useless.

Beliefs fervent 2

Low-energy limitations: Uncertainty or persistent unwillingness to reveal any personal convictions can end up disengaging potential clients or reducing goodwill. As this reluctance can appear evasive, it won’t win many new clients.

Beliefs AGnostic 2


High-energy limitations: Constantly dealing with the needs of others rather than asserting one’s own priorities undermines the negotiation and shows readiness to sacrifice financial self-interest. Any symbiotic behaviour suggesting the adviser can’t survive without the client, will ring warning bells.

symbiotic collaboration2

Low-energy limitations: Self-centred, uncompromising and inconsiderate are labels used for service providers unwilling to share their method or execution with clients, or put themselves in the place of those doing the hiring.

Collaboration Indepeendent 2


High-energy limitations: “Driven” or frenetic energy can be quite disarming, yet buy-side clients may be alienated or threatened by it. Any abrasive or insensitive show will provoke opposition if it’s experienced by the client as egotistical and self-aggrandizing.

Drive unyielding 2

Low-energy limitations: We associate solutions-providers with energy and decisiveness. So low drive, limited energy and a ‘laid back’ posture  that looks overly compliant, runs the risk of disqualifying such a person from important service roles.

Drive compliant 2


High-energy limitations: When the softer side turns to ‘touchy-feely’, this can irritate pragmatists or empirical types. Softness creates vulnerability if it means becoming a hostage to whatever goodwill others might feel.

Vision compassionate 2

Low-energy limitations: Those who make no effort to build emotional ties or integrate with company culture can be seen by clients as selfish, uncaring or even ruthless. And most people who conceal their true selves are hiding something, prompting distrust among the staff.

Empathy impassive 2


High-energy limitations: When following high standards means inflexibility, failure to establish common ground may appear abrasive or intolerant. Others may find a resolute obsession with principles to be intimidating and  implicitly critical.

Values Resolute 2

Low-energy limitations: Those who stand for nothing may look evasive or unprincipled, because trust cannot be built around endlessly shifting positions. So unwillingness to take a coherent stand may end up undermining a person’s integrity.

Values Neutral 2


High-energy limitations: Hollow dreams are not plans for the future and clients want clear roadmaps. Visionary people can find it hard to come down to earth and listen to what’s really happening, instead of alienating clients by appearing overly forceful and dogmatic when talking about themselves .

Viosn Visionary 3

Low-energy limitations: A world without imagination makes it harder to share powerful new possibilities with clients. And without Vision, it’s much harder to engage people, as focusing only on what is known offers little help in exploration.

Vision Empirical 2

In the next post we’ll examine how strengths and range in each of these seven communications attributes will help communications effectiveness. To do so we’ll review the positive strengths associated with each of the Charisma Dimensions and both high and low energy profiles. And of course, we’ll discuss how to “accentuate the positive” by  learning to emphasize our strongest suit.

For any professional, the ability to map, measure and manage a personal charisma profile will help them to strengthen their rapport with clients and increase the chances of a successful, premium priced sale executed on their own terms – and not on those dictated by the Purchasing Department.

If you’re intrigued to know what your  charisma profile looks like,  then click here to visit  the Communicate Charisma website. First you’ll need to  ask us for a referral code allowing you to take the self-assessment test.


Charisma Sells! Part I

Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services: Part I

  • If you’re a provider of professional services, do you have trouble convincing clients they should hire your firm without demanding any discount?
  • Do you have difficulty convincing buyers there’s no need to request any alterations to your pitch, as yours is already a premium service that’s perfect for their needs?
  • And, if you’re one of several bidders, do you struggle to position your firm as the top dog?
prof servs 1

What makes some service providers shine brighter?

If so, you are not alone. The world over, professionals are besieged with ever-louder customer demands for rethinks, redraftings, new interpretations, something different; and always something much, much cheaper than the original asking price.

Architects exprience this; so do workaday lawyers, accountants, advisers, editors – and above all management consultants, who must sometimes reinvent and redefine their product a dozen times before winning grudging client acceptance.

architect 2

Drawing – and redrawing – a daily experience for some professionals

Being part of an organisation with a powerful brand certainly helps, but services are people-driven and the client is buying your competencies, not the institution itself.

Service providers, of course, are basically selling their time and if not their own intellectual property, then diagnostic and troubleshooting skills they’ve built up over years of experience. So accepting a discount is a de facto skills devaluation, implying lower worth to the client. Acceptance can mean sagging self-esteem.

Now there is a way for you to turn all this around. This blog post is dedicated to helping service professionals to differentiate the way offerings are presented, and so drag themselves out of the “discount bracket.”

The answer is charisma, something that lies within you but may be hidden from view.  When it works, the effects are immediate. We’ve all experienced that moment when it’s clear  that by some magical process we have been “bought in” and the client regards our presence at the decision-making table to be both natural and necessary.

We’ll show you how you can use charisma to boost your influence, nurturing behaviours that win acceptance, lower barriers of belief and gather trust.

prof servs 2

Seven colours and seven dimensions for service providers with influence

To find out more about charisma and its application  to modern business life, visit You’ll find diverse blog entries exploring such themes as power and influence, communicating through effective body language, and whether charisma is an innate gift or learned behaviour.

You can also decide whether you would like to take a self-assessment test to find out more about your own charisma. To do so, you’ll first need to contact us via email or  the comment space below. You may wish to join one of our workshops.

But first let’s focus on the practical application of charisma. What separates one group we’ll call the ‘Influencers’ who sell they work for top dollar, from the ‘Malleables,’ who may be forced to accept discounts even though their work may be of just as good quality?

heart surgeon 1

Trust me – and don’t ask for a discount.

We all know ‘Influencer’ service providers whose product is accepted unquestioningly because they are opinion formers or fashionistas. If we work in the same narrow field we may recognise glaring weaknesses that clients are wholly blind to. Yet somehow that doesn’t matter one bit.

On the other side of the fence we find the ‘Malleables.’ These are people whose work, however worthy, gets squeezed, questioned, and downgraded.

architect 3

Malleable types go back to the drawing board

If business life is a metaphorical cocktail party, then these are the waiters handing around trays loaded with canapés or drinks at cocktail parties where favoured guests continually plead favours or special treatment. “This is full sugar. Can you fetch me a Diet Coke?” Or “Have you got any vegan paté/kosher crackers back in the kitchen you could find specially for me?” Or “I can’t believe this is all you have to offer me.”


Are clients treating your services like this?

So what divides the two groups and what determines whether one idea must be offered with a discount, while another commands a premium? You might expect the short answer to be a mix of “chutzpah,” “braggadoccio,” and sheer assertiveness.

But we all know that’s not the answer. Sometimes the most effective sales people who get clients eating out of their hand seem to be hardly even trying, and they certainly aren’t pushy or aggressive.

It all comes down to charisma. Winning influence, gaining trust and being rewarded with acceptance, are all classic charisma attributes. To explore the definition, you can visit the Communicate Charisma website and get to know the Seven Dimensions of charisma.


Trust me too – and don’t ask for a discount

Nor does success necessarily mean using those high-wattage charisma attributes we associate with extroverted energy such as self-assurance, drive or vision. Often, establishing common ground through empathy, collaboration or values will prove just as effective in triggering an “uncomplaining buy” signal from those needing services. Fundamentally, of course, any vendor of services must be able to transmit the unquestioning belief that his or her solution will add the most value for clients.


Charisma could bring added rigour and energy to communicating the benefits of your service to clients.

It comes down to much more than luck, or hope. A lucky few have developed the skill – often unconsciously – of deploying their natural charisma assets to best effect, and this translates into sales. You’d never dream of haggling with a heart surgeon or a trial lawyer, or demand  that either  adopts different tactics. So why shouldn’t people regard what you do in the same way?

To get there, the  rest of us may need to adopt a more conscious learning process, which has three stages.

  • First, we need to visualise, map and measure the charisma we already possess (and yes, everyone has some of it).
  • Second, we can learn to recognise authentic charismatic behaviours in ourselves and others as well as gaining insights into the style of “Great Communicators.”.
  • Finally, we initiate a process of personal development and awareness that over time, helps us manage and makes best use of our charisma.

These three stages form the core of the Communicate Charisma approach which combines online self-assessment tools, workshops, and guided personal development.

In the next posting, we’ll analyse each of the Seven Dimensions of charisma and see how service leaders use them to help the sales process.

FIFA to Brazil: “Let’s get this party started!”

My football-mad teenage son is baffled – and so is an army of journalists, sports pundits and FOBs (Friends of Brazil). Why has Brazil spent the 12 months preceding the 2014 World Cup in such a sulky and fractious mood? And just days before the kickoff, why hasn’t the party started?

MaracanaThe answer is: because urban Brazil is living an out-of-time 1960s moment with an emergent counterculture that doesn’t do FIFA’s cuckoo-clock precision and for-TV displays of national unity – all brought to you by the good grace of credit card companies or cola vendors.

Think Danny le Rouge at the Paris barricades. Think Black Consciousness. Think Yippies and Merry Pranksters in California. Think of British voters being told by their out-of-touch leader: “You’ve never had it so good” – and soon afterward  the opposition sweeping into power as the Swinging Sixties kicked off.

Paris 2Fanciful? Bear with me and further down this post I’ll explain why.

My son – he’s half Brazilian – knows the very worst thing you can say about about people or events in Brazil is that they’re “desanimado” – lacking in spirit, enthusiasm or dash. Hosting a party where nobody dances  and there is no “animação” is social death. Standing on the sidelines and refusing to join in the collective euphoria makes you a social pariah in Brazil.

Yet just days before a party of monumental proportions begins, a whole nation of 190 million is “desanimado” and ambivalent, grumpy or almost apologetic.

Will things be changed by the arrival of 500,000 raucous foreigners with their heads filled with the Brazilian beachparty stereoptypes of Samba/Carnival and futebol? I’m betting ever-hospitable Brazilians won’t want to disappoint their guests and the party will indeed kick off. And of course, Brazil is the nation where Carnival comes together only at the last minute.

vivaSo yes, the 2014 World Cup will be a success, and in social media terms #vaitercopasim and #vaitercopapracaralho (“We will have a World Cup”, and “It will be a fucking good World Cup”) will gain millions more followers and likes than #naovertercopa. (“The World Cup won’t happen”). Opinion formers like the Economist also think the event will take place with only subdued local protest.

Nao va terYet just weeks before the tournament began, I was in São Paulo struggling to find any FIFA-related tourist tat in the stores. Nor at the end of April were there any green-and-yellow painted streets or pavements plus the usual heady Copa atmosphere I remembered from back in the 1980s. Local taxi drivers (always the resource of slothful foreign correspondents) were vocal repeating-stations of dour pessimism. “Tomara que percam logo” ( “I hope the Brazilian side loses”) was one I heard several times.

Foreign correspondents I met in the city were similarly baffled. Why were things so subdued? And how could it be that a nation whose populist identity has since the late 1940s been carefully crafted around global soccer supremacy, could be deeply ambivalent about a defining event taking place on its own doorstep?

So in recent weeks how could the prevailing narrative have been so thoroughly seized by #naovertercopa and those portraying the evils of the FIFA event at every possible street demo, that even Brazil’s uncrowned king, Pelé (hitherto an unrepentant booster of all things FIFA) now sounds like a hesitant and insincere voice crying in the wilderness? “The money spent on the stadiums was a lot, and in some cases was more than it should have been,” apologised Pele.

Stadium toiletInstead the government finds itself on something like a war footing against its own people, spending lavishly to rent a squadron of pilotless surveillance drones and their Israeli flight managers, to hire former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani to advise on crowd control, plus an unnamed cast of security men still with Afghani sand in their trouser turn-ups. To say the least of levies from the Brazilian armed forces, its state militia and civil police all trained and ready.

None of this has stopped a rash of strikes, demonstrations, marches and bad feeling. There certainly will be a World Cup. The eve of tournament demonstrations haven’t been that big — but they were a year ago when I was visiting São Paulo. If today the demonstrators have become more media savvy (writing their placards in English) and  skilfully targeting logistics, in June 2013 it felt like a generalised wave of complaint.

protestThe FIFA-approved camera angles inside each stadium are tightly plotted – as are those approved for seat allocations that will be in camera view. The media is already reporting there won’t be sufficient bandwidth for in-stadium tweeting by all fans who want to. Foreign journalists are also being warned about potential limitations to internet connectivity. Perhaps there’s a veiled threat in there.

vai terLet’s set aside the rights and wrongs of the long litany of protests about domestic social, economic and political ills within Brazil that has been steadily growing since the June 2013 demonstrations coinciding with the Confederations Cup matches that served as a warm-up to the June/July 2014 event. It’s now a rolling story and you can read about these issues in every newspaper and media outlet from reporters way better-informed than I who are on the case, such as my friend Mac Margolis.

And let’s also set aside the squabbling with FIFA and a rising tide of discontent with the multinational (or should that read Swiss) governance of sporting mega-events and the financial exploitation of emerging markets, all in the name of making sport the global campaigning arm of what used to be called the “Washington Consensus.” Spreading western values through democracy may have hit a rough patch after the Arab Spring, Tahrir Square, and Crimea debacles, but the job is being carried on nicely through international sport.

Something has changed with Brazil’s social consensus – and it’s all coming out on the eve of  the World Cup. The underside of social transformation is discontent. Obviously, complaining about inequality/corruption/bad governance won’t affect the tournament outcome. Yet becoming a mature democracy means people exercise their right to complain about things. And that’s a bit like rape statistics – meaning they don’t necessarily record a worsening over time, but the reporting is higher as people feel more confident about their right to complain.

demosComplain about what? The country is much, much richer than it was when I lived there in the 1980s. Material and social progress has been stunning. Corruption and police violence are no worse than before. Drug related crime is (probably) on a long-term downward trend, despite horrendous blips. There is near-full employment. Brazil occupies a bigger place in the world (despite a misguided diplomacy that attempts to be friends with all and the critic of none).

Everything should be peachy. But from repeated return trips there I can conclude Brazil is not a happier place than before – and the so-far chilly reception for the World Cup proves it.

So back to my idea of Brazil reliving its 1960s moment. Actually for this one I’m indebted to my friend Julia Michaels, doyenne of the Rio-based opinion-formers, who noticed a return of Afro hairstyles and an emergent, California style counterculture.

black consciousnessMatch this sense of diversity and protest with real-time social media’s capacity to organise demos, rolezinhos (flash-mob type events inside shopping centres), and you have a powerful mix.

The net of all this is that the carefully engineered social consensus that lasted long after the 1964-1985 military years, giving Brazil such slogans as “Brasil: ame-o ou deixe-o” (Brazil: love it or leave it), is unravelling.

The country has reached a point where diversity, not unity, is what defines it. The late 19th century Brazilian project embroidered on the national flag “Order and Progress” has – more or less – been delivered. Yet there’s nothing to replace it, no natural focus of forward evolution.

People I speak to feel as anxious, uncertain and downright unhappy as at any time in the past three decades – and that’s all coming home to roost just at the World Cup comes to town.  Hositing a World Cup is supposed to be a globally televised set-piece of national unity and homogeneity.

But it’s turned into something very different – and that must be giving  Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff pause for thought as she contemplates her re-election bid this autumn. If I’m right about the  Sixties theme, then she might turn out to be the General De Gaulle of this particular moment of protest. True, she comes from the other side of the spectrum (she was a youthful urban guerrilla), but she has lectured and hectored her citizens about the need to cheer up and enjoy their bread and circuses.

Which will give the men who control global sport food for thought as they contemplate what comes after Brazil 2014. The next two stunningly ill-conceived venues — Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 – could put the cap on the notion of sport (rather then democracy) carrying western values for a century into the future.

What the World Cup is showing is that economic prosperity doesn’t equal satisfaction. Or, as they said in the Sixties: Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Fifa go home

The DNA of Charisma

Is it inevitable that in conversation, someone with an ENFP personality type will outshine an INTP?

Or maybe, the right amount of empathy or self-assurance will get to the heart of the matter quicker than a four-letter acronym. And a visual projection may give some extra insights into exactly how one personality may shine brighter than another.

Visualising your charisma assets
Visualising your charisma assets

Readers who have already matched themselves with one of 16 psychological types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), will be curious to know whether this also defines the amount of charisma they can show the world. It might be tempting to consider that those likeliest to have the extra “wow factor” that we know as charisma, will also have profiles characterised by extroversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving.

These attributes form one half of the four dichotomies first identified by the Swiss psychologist C.G Jung, and which in 1943 were used by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs to construct MBTI. Jung initially based his approach to personality on mental bipolar dimensions (dichotomies). These were Sensing-Intuition (SN) and Thinking-Feeling (TF).

CG Jung, father of psychological type  theory
CG Jung, father of psychological type theory

So how does Communicate Charisma compare with the much older methodology, which in its authorised and unauthorised formats has been taken by many millions of people, has generated around 1,000 books, and is still the “gold standard” in psychometric testing?

The founders of MBTI system
The founders of MBTI system

First, Communicate Charisma is a newcomer with more limited goals, focusing solely on the way each individual projects his or her essential energies when communicating, resulting in the effect we know as charisma. This is a variable mix of self-assurance, beliefs, collaboration, drive, empathy, values and vision.

Summary view of charisma's seven dimensions
Summary view of charisma’s seven dimensions

Second, charisma is not a personality type. It is less about being – and more about doing. So it needs to be measured using quite different yardsticks to those used to score personality in its innate form. Charisma is the “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others,” helping lower people’s resistance to accepting ideas and so raising influence.

Thirdly, similarities between the two methodologies are limited in scope because they are looking for different things. They have a distant common ancestor in the work of Jung and his 1921 study Psychological Types; they both use a self-assessment questionnaire as a “personal MRI scan.” And neither are personality tests per se but instruments designed to aid insight or personal development, and for which there are no right or wrong answers.

There the similarity ends.

The purpose of Communicate Charisma is to help users recognise and then remove roadblocks to effective communication, which is an important life success factor. Rather than focusing on “what to say” or “how to say it,” we believe we can best serve people by showing them the authenticity of “who to be.”

This blog – and the entire Communicate Charisma methodology you’ll find on – is all about becoming more conscious of the ways we influence those around us, and how we fathom these processes.

You can take the test right away by clicking here to visit the Communicate Charisma website and following the instructions.  By way of a warm-up, before you  answer questions about yourself you’ll be invited to state your views of a “Great  Communicator.”

While the system acknowledges Jung’s core insight that observable behaviour is a manifestation of shared underlying archetypes of personality, Communicate Charisma is not based upon a fixed or limited number of personality types. (In MBTI the total* is 16, this being a multiple of the four dichotomies identified by Jung).

MBTI and similars use these 16 letter acronyms
MBTI and similars use these 16 four-letter acronyms

Instead, Communicate Charisma follows Jung’s original assertion that “every individual is a new and unique combination of psychic elements.” (The Development of Personality, 1954). Likewise each person’s charisma is composed of a mix of attributes that’s unique to them.

So the Communicate Charisma methodology works from a basis not of 16, but 144 distinct levels. Each of these can be further combined to produce as many variants or possibilities as there are individuals to take the self-assessment test.

Perhaps useful comparison can be made with the double-helix model of DNA first revealed by Crick and Watson in 1953, and coincidentally also based on a four-letter code. Although there are just four building blocks or nucleobases in each DNA strand (guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine), the range of combinations across the 23 chromosome pairs in the human cell creates a genome or genetic information set of three billion base pairs.

DNA's 4 letter codes produce 3 billion combinations
DNA’s 4 letter codes produce 3 billion combinations

The Communicate Charisma self-assessment test generates two distinct types of visual plot, offering 100% personalised and unique results. It is an inclusive, rather than a reductionist system such as those that may classify people according to types of animal or hero.

Take the Seven Dimension Essence Plot. First of all, this wheel-like graphic with wedge-shaped zones shows how the overall energy a person devotes to communication is divided between seven zones or dimensions. Next, the mean energy level shown in each of these dimensions will vary between five different levels, depending on the distance from the centre of the plot. Finally, the test also shows the range a person may exhibit in each of these dimensions, permitting them greater or lesser flexibility in adopting other behaviours. So there are 105 distinct fields here.

Communicate Charisma Seven Dimension plot yields 105 variants
Communicate Charisma Seven Dimension plot yields 105 variants

Now add the Two Dimension Projection Plot, which forms part of the results of the self-assessment test. It is conceived as a standard grid onto which an ellipse of variable size and shape is projected. While the position of the main ellipse gives a unique graphic representation of the responses, subsidiary ellipses may provide indications of any gaps between a person’s real or imagined communication style. So there are 39 distinct fields here.

Communicate Charisma's Two Dimension Plot contains 39 distinct fields
Communicate Charisma’s Two Dimension Plot contains 39 distinct fields

All in all, Communicate Charisma is the antithesis of a cookie-cutter testing tool. It provides a visual plot that’s hugely flexible and sensitive to individual personality, without being limited by a reductionist system or fixed theory. We believe it truly respects Jung’s own words: “We miss the meaning of the individual psyche if we interpret it on the basis of any fixed theory.”

Just as MBTI was conceived to make the insights of type theory accessible to individuals and groups, so the objective of Communicate Charisma is to make use of clear visual symbols to help individuals map, measure and manage those communications skills or assets that might otherwise remain undetected or unrecognised.

By projecting our communication type in a way that’s both intuitive and simple without being simplistic, Communicate Charisma plots instantly show us our stronger and weaker sides.

This chart shows strong preference for  public performance and persuasion.
This chart shows strong preference for public performance and persuasion.

The headline conclusions are immediately visible online in the Summary Report available to users who have completed the self-assessment test that you can find by clicking here. Just click on the field named Self-assessment under the Take a Test tab.

More detailed information can only be found in the full Self-assessment Profile — a printed report that is delivered personally to those attending Communicate Charisma workshops and training events, which will be coming to cities around the world during 2014.

To add further depth and perspective to the visual representation, the methodology also uses an avatar or descriptive title to help identify each zone. On the 7D Essence Profile, each one of the seven dimensions has five descriptors for the five energy zones within it, resulting in 35 avatars. As described above, each of those avatars is further qualified by the range or flexibility achieved, in an explanatory text.

Furthermore, the 2D Projection Profile generates another 10 avatars or descriptive titles to help envisage where a person sits on each of the two axes. Finally, because we all exhibit a mix of these two axes, the Combined 2D profile provides us with a set of nine descriptive titles that serve as snapshots showing exactly how each of us goes about the business of communication. All in all, this gallery of 54 avatars or personality types provides a comprehensive yet clear framework allowing us imaginatively perceive the impact we have on others.

Add in the visual framework from the 2D and 7D Plots, and Communicate Charisma provides what we believe is a forensic and comprehensive analysis of the way every person consciously or unconsciously seeks to influence others through communication.

How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.
How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.

And by the way – this writer is an ENFP.

To find out more about the Communicate Charisma method and what it offers you please visit:

* In addition to defining one of the 16 personality types with a four-letter code, MBTI and similars include bar charts in test results showing the percentages of the eight individual traits.