Olivia Fox Cabane: The 2 Steps to Developing Charisma

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Charisma Myth" by Olivia Fox Cabane. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How can you become more charismatic? What two steps must you master to become a charismatic person?

According to Olivia Fox Cabane, the author of The Charisma Myth, there are two steps to becoming charismatic: 1) master your mind, and 2) practice speaking with charisma. She describes why these steps are so important and how to do them.

Here is a brief overview of each step.

Step 1: Master Your Mind

Cabane states that the first step to becoming charismatic is to master your mind and learn to direct your emotional state on command. She argues that by practicing the right mental habits, you can authentically summon the components of charisma—mindfulness, authority, and goodwill—whenever you need them.

According to Cabane, the reason that this type of emotional intelligence is so important is that you can’t fake the components of charisma. Humans are incredibly good at perceiving others’ true emotions, particularly by observing body language. When others scan you for mindfulness, authority, and goodwill, they learn far more from your unconscious body language than anything else. If your demeanor contradicts the way you claim to feel, they’ll be able to detect it.

Cabane argues that you can’t circumvent this incongruence by directly controlling every aspect of your body language—there are too many parts of your body moving and reacting all the time. Instead, she insists that the most effective way to project authority and goodwill is to actually feel like you have authority and care about others. If these components of charisma are real to you (and you’re able to summon them on demand), they’ll be real to others, because they’ll naturally and authentically show in your body language.

Step 2: Practice Charismatic Conversation Skills

After you’ve built a foundation for charisma by mastering your charismatic mindset, Cabane recommends learning conversational habits and tactics that will allow you to endear yourself to anyone, anywhere.

We’ve broken down Cabane’s advice on improving conversation into three broad skills you need to acquire:

  • Nonverbal communication
  • Thoughtful listening
  • Charismatic speaking
Olivia Fox Cabane: The 2 Steps to Developing Charisma

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Olivia Fox Cabane's "The Charisma Myth" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Charisma Myth summary:

  • How charisma is a set of habits and behaviors that anyone can learn
  • How to become a magnetic presence wherever you go
  • Why it’s more important to be a charismatic listener than a charismatic speaker

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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