Get Contagious

08.08.2016 |

Episode #7 of the course Scientifically proven ways to increase your influence by Vanessa Van Edwards


If we want to increase our influence, we have to talk about charisma.

Here at the Science of People, we have been researching charisma. To do this, we asked over 500 people this question:

Who is the most charismatic person you know?

We wanted to know what it is about someone that makes them magnetic, influential, and likeable.

As people recalled their Casanova, we were struck by how many people told us that their person made them “feel” good. Very rarely did people tell us how attractive or well-spoken someone was. More often, they talked about feelings—the feelings that are stirred up when they are together. And the research backs this up.


The Research

MIT Media Lab found that most people don’t remember what someone looks like or what someone says, but they DO remember what it feels like to be with them.

Charismatic people make us feel good.

Psychologist Howard Friedman devised a test to gauge people’s charisma levels. He wanted to see if the people who scored high on his charisma test could influence the people who scored low on his charisma test. In other words, he wanted to know if charismatic people can influence others.

After only spending two minutes together, even without speaking, the low charismatic person picked up the mood of the highly charismatic person in most of the trials. There was not a single trial where a highly charismatic person picked up the mood of a low charisma person.

Remember, there was no talking going on in these experiments! So the charismatic person was able to transfer his or her mood, without realizing it, solely through nonverbal behavior. That’s some powerful stuff.

This gives us two A-HA moments:

1. Your mood is contagious. The more influential you are, the more you can inspire others.

2. Our charisma has very little to do with our words. We can influence people solely based on our nonverbal communication.


The Solution

There are three ways you can nonverbally be charismatic, and they are easy to remember as the Three Ts: Tilt, Torso, and Toes.

Tilt: Highly charismatic people show they are listening. You can do this by slightly tilting your head during conversation.

Torso and Toes: We nonverbally show we are engaged when we aim our torso and toes toward others. This is a nonverbal sign of respect.


Your Challenge

This time, let’s dig a little deeper! Since our moods are contagious, I want to get you into a positive mindset.

Right now, I challenge you to tell me five things you are grateful for in your life. Tweet me @Vvanedwards #imgrateful for…


P.S. Be even more charismatic with these 5 habits of exceptionally charismatic people.

P.P.S. And learn about the secret of charismatic people.


Recommended book

“The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane


Share with friends