Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Charisma: Some people have it some don't

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

WebsiteFollow Me on TwitterFollow on Facebook

Charisma: Some people have it and some don’t

There is a very competitive presidential election going on in the United States and the hidden factor behind it is “charisma”.

Yes, we all know that President Obama inherited a rather dismal economic situation when he took office  but when the deficit rises to the level it is now, and many of his policies have not worked, it is definitely not a good sign of effective leadership. How long can a country continue spending 1.40 for every 1.00 it produces is not known exactly but it is known that it is unsustainable.

So, what does charisma have to do with this?

There is no doubt that President Obama is a rather charismatic individual and that will help him win the election. Mitt Romney is not perceived as “charismatic” and that is hurting him tremendously. Can he develop or be trained to increase his “charisma”? Time will tell. He definitely has to raise it in the Hispanic community, a voting block he needs to at least conquer 35 to 40% in order to have a chance to win. As of this writing, he is close to 25%.

One thing for sure: Whoever wins, I would certainly not want to be in his shoes. He will have a humongous situation to solve. But, getting back to charisma…

There are experts that say that “charisma” is something you have, you are born with, you either have it or you don’t.

There is however, a growing group of researchers that have taken the position that charisma is not something you have but something you earn and they offer some ideas on how it can be developed.

Those in management, part of a team or whose job entails convincing and persuading people, should pay close attention.

There is no doubt that you deal with some people that make you feel important, they instantly make you feel special, make you feel good.

You also know some people that when they walk into a room, the room lights up, the environment changes, you feel that something changed for the positive. In fact, as I am writing this, you are right now thinking of someone you know.

It is difficult to define, you just can’t pin point what it is but you do know they have it so we could say they are “naturally charismatic”.

I had a professor of social sciences in the University of Puerto Rico that when he walked in, the class immediately felt his positive presence. Some politicians such as my dear friend Sila Calderon have that charisma. Many say Pedro Roselló and Rubén Berríos have it too. Ronald Reagan definitely had it.  I had breakfast once with Margaret Thatcher when we both spoke at the same event some years ago and everyone at the table was glued to her every word. Lady Di, yes, she certainly had charisma written all over it, yet Charles, Prince of Wales has little or none.

All these people are very charismatic, no doubt about it.  

Unfortunately, natural charisma quickly loses its impact. Familiarity breeds, well, familiarity.

But some people never lose their charisma: They build and maintain wonderful relationships, consistently influence the people around them, persistently make people feel better about themselves--they're the kind of individuals everyone wants to be around, and wants to be with.

What determines the charisma of these people doesn’t have anything to do with nationality, religion, race or their accent, but how they behave, by what they do, their actions.

For example, charismatic people believe it or not, listen more than they talk. They pay attention to what you are saying, they ask good questions, they maintain eye contact, smile and nod, more emphasis on the non- verbal behavior rather than the verbal.

What is the effect of doing this?

They make the other person feel important and that is a crucial skill.

Learning point: When you do speak, don’t offer advice unless you asked to do so. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering your advice, because when you offer advice, you have shifted the conversation from them to you so it is now all about you, not about them.

Example: You say “Johnny, here is what I would do…”

Is that about you or the other person?

You got it.

A capital sin which takes away from charisma: Selective hearing.

Some people and I bet you know some of them, are so full of crap that they think they are above you. They really believe that you are inferior to them.  You can speak to them and sometimes you think they are listening but they are not. They have discounted what you say because you are not smart enough, intelligent or your position in the company is not as high up in the scale as their own.

Example: A janitor in a company tries to tell an executive that people are making comments about a particular situation that could affect the company and the executive thinks “who does this janitor think he is?” 

Fortunately charismatic people listen intently to everyone, and they make everyone, regardless of position, social status or "class," feel like they all have something in common with them.

Because they do: They are all people.

Charismatic people pay much more attention to giving than receiving.

They don’t think about what they can get, they think about what they can provide, what they can give. Giving is the quickest way to establish a good solid relationship, especially if you give without expecting anything in return.

 Charismatic people are not arrogant. People that are arrogant,(interestingly, arrogance comes from a strength, self-confidence) think they are impressing people when in reality they are putting them off. When people are in front of arrogant people, they feel irritated, put off and usually very uncomfortable.

And you know what? When they walk into a room, some people hate it, and others make fun of them. You can hear a whisper, “who in the heck does he think he is”?

Finally, charismatic people don’t criticize others behind their backs. Yes, we all like hearing a little gossip here and there, sometimes we secretly like hearing others gutter some dirt at people we don’t like.

The problem is that we don’t really like, and definitely don’t respect the people that criticize others behind their backs because we feel that they will do the same thing with us.

We also don’t like people that laugh at other people. When they do, people around them might think that they will someday laugh at them.  

Yes, very successful people are often perceived as charismatic simply because they are successful. Their success definitely creates a halo effect, like a glow, and often they dress impeccably.

The keyword here is: perceived.

You don’t have to be very successful to be very charismatic. Take off the shiny coat of arms, and you will find that many successful people have the charisma of a cockroach.

But you do have to be very genuine to be charismatic. Be humble, share your mistakes, admit when you do something wrong, and laugh at yourself.

While it is not a good idea to laugh at others, it is healthy to laugh at yourself.

They will like you a lot more and they will see your halo when you walk through that door.

Leader in Motion: How Choreographer Bill T. Jones Collaborate

The concept of happiness in the business world

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

WebsiteFollow Me on TwitterFollow on Facebook

The concept of happiness as applied to the business world

Don’t you think that we all need to find happiness?

How do we deliver happiness in business? We try to make it part of every transaction.

When people buy what we sell, they want to feel happy with their transaction. They want to buy an I-Pad and they want happiness. They want a refrigerator and they want to feel happy. They fix their homes and paint their walls because it will make them happy. They want to go to their physician or dentist and they want to be healthy because being healthy brings people happiness.

Think of the people that you do business with and I bet that those that give you happiness when you deal with them get most or all of your business.  I immediately think of the employees of a neighborhood restaurant that cares about their customers. They go out of their way to say hello to every client that visits the restaurant. They are efficient, enthusiastic and they quickly ask you for a drink to make you feel comfortable. If you are a regular client, they ask you how you are doing, how is your family how is your business. They demonstrate interest in you, their client.

Let’s take a closer look at happiness in your life.

#1: First off, happiness begins with you. You should be the source of happiness, joy and energy in your company, business or in your professional life. If the lights are out in your heart, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll brighten somebody else’s heart.

Do the people who work for you get up every day and look forward to going to work because they will find a happy and challenging environment?  Do they feel happy because they are treated fairly and their intellect is challenged on a daily basis? Do they greet clients by name? Do they look people in the eye? Leadership is a person’s ability to influence others to accomplish his or her objectives and it is much easier to do this if people are happy at their place of work.

#2: Next, hire happy people. I am always asked if you can turn unhappy employees into happy ones. I must admit that it is possible but I bet that it is a whole lot easier to hire people that are happy by nature. Horz Schultze former Chairman of the highly successful hotel chain the Ritz Carlton, once told me that their policy was to hire happy people, people that loved the hotel business. They would rather hire attitude and then train than hire trained people and try to change their attitude. 

#3: Create rituals of happiness. Encourage happiness. Create festivities, fun contests, special days, events and activities throughout the year that excite, perk up, stimulate. Go to your planner and right now mark on it a few days where you have the opportunity to surprise your employees with some off the wall activity or event.

What are you willing to do to make your business a happier place for your employees and your clients to do business with?

Happiness has a lot to do with love. To end this article on a happy note, I want to share with you some wisdom sent to me by my friend Don Cooper.

 When asked what love is, a group of 4 to 8 year olds came up with these brilliant answers:

a) "When my grandmother got arthritis and couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore, my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

Rebecca - age 8

b) “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

c) "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

d) "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissie - age 6

e) "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and then he wears it every day." Noelle - age 7

f) "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."

Clare - age 6

g) "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4

h) "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot because people forget." Jessica - age 8

i) "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

Bobby- age 7

Go and find a happy place to work on.

The Time is Now

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

WebsiteFollow Me on TwitterFollow on Facebook

The time is now

Have you noticed that there are different sized lobsters?  Yes, the same can be said of human beings but the difference is that human beings get their size through genes, lobsters play a part on how big they get. When a lobster wants to get bigger, it goes down deep down in the sea and finds a good rock, hides behind it and proceeds to take its shell off. It is logical that when the shell is off, the lobster becomes very vulnerable to everything that can harm it or even kill it. In other words, in order to get bigger or better, it has to risk everything, only then will it be able to grow.

As the lobster eats more than before, it starts to grow and the outer surface hardens and it becomes its new shell before it finally goes up to the surface. In the lobster’s particular case, and I bet the lobster doesn’t know it, getting bigger will attract fishermen constantly in the look out since its meat is a highly desirable food for humans.

The lesson I want to convey is that we need to sometimes act like a lobster. We need to hide, reflect and in many instances re-invent ourselves especially when what we are doing is not obtaining the results we want or need to achieve. But we need to do it now.

This need to “lobstarize” and forgive me for inventing the word, sometimes comes when we are feeling desperate, when nothing we do is helping, when it seems that the forces of the universe are all acting against us. This moment often is a dark moment for us and we start recognizing that what is happening “out there” in the world is no longer satisfying us on the inside.

I remember leaving my private practice, on the outside it looked ok, my partner and I had enough patients, really everything we wanted, but inside, I simply didn’t feel right. I had money, patients, a great partner but the wrong wife and I was understanding clearly that I wasn’t in the right track and that I needed to make a change. 

At the beginning I tried what a lot of other people try to do, change the outside world, or change the behavior of others, make the whole scenario happier but it actually didn’t work, it didn’t make it better. Yeah, tried to change my wife but it was impossible. Personality disorders take a long time to cure.

Only when I focused on the inside, on my inner core, did I come to the realization that all change starts from within, intrinsically, instead of extrinsically.  I had to change myself. I had to act and act fast, so my first step was to get out of an unhappy marriage.

Another factor I faced was the time issue. When was I going to change, how fast was change happening around me, how was I handling the timing?

Now more than ever, people are realizing that change, or I should say, the rate of change is speeding up quite a lot, and interestingly, for everyone and I mean everyone, it will seem like it is speeding up faster as the years go by.

It is obvious that as you get older, the days, weeks, months, and years seem to pass much faster than they did before. It seems that we were all preparing for the year 2,000 and wow, it is now 2012. How did 12 years go by so fast? It feels like we just celebrated new years and wow, half the year is gone. There is a mathematical reason we all feel this way.

To tell a four year old child to wait for a marshmallow for 15 minutes is equivalent to telling an adult to wait two hours for a cup of coffee. Those 15 minutes are a bigger percentage in the life of a four year old than in the life of an adult, so the child feels like he is waiting a very long time and for the adult 15 minutes goes by really quick, unless you are going through torture, getting a tooth pulled out or enduring  a colonoscopy.

A mistake people make is to use time as a definer, as a paradigm to live your life.

The word “someday” I find it to be such a negative word. When you hear someone say “someday” it will probably mean, “never”. So many of my speaker or consulting colleagues have said to me that “someday” they will write their book, and years have gone by, and no book yet.

One dear colleague in WOSO where I have a daily motivational capsule, (you know who you are) has said to me that someday he will write his book, five years have gone by and still hasn’t written it.

On the other hand, another colleague from WOSO said to me, “I will write my book within the next year for sure” and now her book “Emprendeser” you can buy in amazon.com and other places.

Have someone said to you, “when I retire I will do such and such”? or “when the kids leave home I will pursue my degree”? or “when I have more time I will start going to the gym”?

Will never happen.

Define yourself through your situation, through your present, in the “now” instead of in the future “I will do it when” or “I am not doing it because...” Or in the past, “never had the opportunity”, “the time wasn’t right”, “I blew my chance”.

There is only one “now”, there is only the present, this moment, right now, from which everything else comes, our past, our present and our future.

Things are tough everywhere, although some people feel that they are getting better. Some don’t see it and they believe things are getting worse. In either case, now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Now is not the time to say “someday or I will do it when”.

It is time to clearly define what you want to do and then do it.

So, bring up to your conscious mind the dreams you have had, things you have always wanted to do or places you have always wanted to visit.

Now is the time for your dream, this is the time for you to make a plan on how you will achieve it.

The right formula: What is your exact goal,is it clearly defined? Is it realistic or at least close to reality?  How will it be measured, in other words, how will someone else see that you achieved it? What is your plan to do it? Divide the project into smaller tasks and right now take your electronic or paper planner and write down the very first activity, task or meeting you need to have in order to start your quest to achieve your dream.

Take action and persevere until you achieve it or you realize that you simply don’t have the genetics, the resources or what you need in order to achieve that specific goal.

If that is the case, choose another one.

You are on your way!

The fear of speaking in public especially when you are not prepared

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

WebsiteFollow Me on TwitterFollow on Facebook

The fear of speaking in public especially when you are not prepared.

Millions of people would rather face death rather than speak in public.

Imagine what happened to me last Monday when travelled to Atlanta to deliver a speech the following day at 4pm.

A week before, I was in my car and I got a call from a lady that belongs to The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) to ask me if I could facilitate the Networking meeting of the Diversity group of SHRM, composed mainly of African Americans and Latinos.

Since I couldn’t hear her well because of a bad connection, I thought that what I was being asked to do was to be sort of an MC, a facilitator if you will, someone who was going to do a networking exercise so that people could get to know each other better.

I land in Atlanta, go to my hotel, drop off my baggage and my laptop and only with my I pad I head to the Imperial Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis. I didn’t even have time to take a shower and change since I was running late. Didn’t even have a tie, customary when I do most of my speeches, and I must confess that even my shirt was a little wrinkled.

As I get into the ballroom, I see a room set up with tables and a section of chairs behind the tables, enough room for about 350 to 400 people I estimated.

When a lady greets me with a big smile, and I look at the big screen in front of the room, I see that I was being announced as the speaker for the event.

Ok, so here I am, totally unprepared, not even that well dressed and just a few minutes before I had to deliver a speech.

What were my choices? Run, say that a headache was killing me, ask for someone else to do it or simply face the situation and do the best I could.

I decided I would do the speech and I want to share the experience with you, my dear readers, because in life you will face unexpected situations when you have to perform or face defeat or embarrassment.

Right in the front of the room, much to my relief, there was a full table made up of the SHRM delegates from Puerto Rico, some that had attended my speech last year in SHRM Puerto Rico and others that work for some of my clients such as Triple S and Doral Bank. (By the way, the SHRM PR convention is on September 19 to the 22nd in The Conquistador hotel, a must attend event if you are in Human Resources).

I got a great introduction from the MC of the event and I stepped up to the podium.

How did I start my speech?

I told them what had happened: I got a call from Mrs. Pamela Green, the person in charge of the event and I thought that I was going to facilitate a meeting, not give a speech and here I was, standing in front of them without my laptop or any type of prop.

I then asked the following question:  “Who in this room is afraid of public speaking”? About half the room raised their hands.” Imagine having to do a speech without any preparation whatsoever”. I could see the fear in some of the faces by only thinking about it. 

I then went on to tell them that preparation is essential in every aspect of their professional life and that even if they weren’t prepared they had to face situations in life when preparation is not possible.

I then went on to explain that preparation requires self-discipline and self-discipline is one of the most, if not the most, important factor needed to be successful in life.

That is the famous marshmallow principle, a principle so essential that I wrote a book about it.

So, let me describe what I did so that you understand this lesson well.

Number one, I was honest with them and described the situation exactly as it had happened.

Two, I involved them with a question where everyone had to participate.

Three, I chose to discuss a principle that would apply to the situation that I was facing and the importance of understanding that principle.

After I got into familiar territory, talking about the main theme of my book, the rest was rather easy.

The last part of my speech, I did a networking exercise. And that exercise was so well accepted and it is so useful that I will share it with you all so that you can apply it in your business.

I told them to take out their business cards and hand their card to a person that they didn’t know. When everyone had a card that belonged to someone else, I asked them to look at the card they had in their hand and whoever had a magnificent, different, original, creative card, a card that they would never get rid of because they would love to do business with such a creative individual, to raise their hand. Only 10 people or so out of the 300 raised their hand, they brought their cards to me and I did a critique of each card.

Most cards in the audience were printed on one side only; they were very plain, ordinary and demonstrated no creativity on the part of the business being represented by the card.

I then took out my million dollar card and the audience loved, standing after the speech in line to get one.

You must have a business card that shows innovation and creativity so that it is not thrown away or if kept, the person you gave it to will keep it until the need for your product or service arises.

I now see as a blessing the night I was leaving a wonderful party in the Caribe Hilton with my wife and on top of the tables I saw some of my business cards. That meant that many people I gave the card to saw the card so ordinary that they didn’t even bother to take the card with them.

That day I decided that I had to have a better card and the card I came up with has been very valuable in the success of my business. I hope you do the same. By the way, they loved my speech.