Charisma: 6 Signs That You Have It

It takes as little as five minutes to feel someone’s charisma bursting through.

It takes as little as five minutes to feel someone’s charisma bursting through.

People who are charismatic have a magic combination of being courteous and approachable as well as being able to influence others.

That is why we associate charisma with leadership and with making people feel comfortable.

Research finds there are six signs of a charismatic person (Tskhay et al., 2018):

  1. Makes people feel comfortable.
  2. Smiles at people often.
  3. Can get along with anyone.
  4. Has a presence in a room.
  5. Has the ability to influence people.
  6. Knows how to lead a group.

The first three are related to putting other people at their ease and the other three are related to leadership and presence.

Charisma seems to have little to do with intelligence, the researchers also found.

Highly intelligent people can be highly uncharismatic and relatively unintelligent people can have magnetic personalities.

Generally, though, charismatic people were quite agreeable — they are usually empathetic, warm and considerate.

This helps explain their ability to make people feel comfortable.

The study found that it can take as little as five minutes for people to pick up on someone’s charisma.

Speed is of the essence for charisma

People who are mentally quick on their feet are seen as more charismatic by friends, research finds (von Hippel et al., 2015).

Speed is of the essence, though, the researchers found, while IQ and mental agility were not as vital as they expected.

Professor William von Hippel, who led the research, said:

“Our findings show that social intelligence is more than just knowing the right thing to do.

Social intelligence also requires an ability to execute, and the quickness of our mind is an important component of that ability.”

Professor Hippel was fascinated by why some people exude more charisma than others.

He said:

“We decided to take a slightly different approach to the problem by trying to get a handle on what enables charisma.

When we looked at charismatic leaders, musicians, and other public figures, one thing that stood out is that they are quick on their feet.”

The study included 417 people who were rated on their charisma by friends.

They also took tests of personality and intelligence.

Each was then asked 30 questions which are common knowledge, such as: “Name a precious gem.”

People who were quicker to come up with easy answers like this were perceived as more charismatic by their friends, the results showed.

This was even true when people’s personality and intelligence was taken into account.

Professor Hippel said:

“Although we expected mental speed to predict charisma, we thought that it would be less important than IQ.

Instead, we found that how smart people were was less important than how quick they were.

So knowing the right answer to a tough question appears to be less important than being able to consider a large number of social responses in a brief window of time.”

Being mentally agile also allows people to consider different social responses on the spot.

This enables charismatic people to rule out inappropriate actions as well as pick out potentially witty responses.


Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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