I like to think about what makes a person intelligent; it’s such a complex topic, because it’s akin to asking what makes a human human, our intelligent being the thing that distinguishes us most from animals. Traditionally, intelligence might be thought of as the ability to acquire knowledge; the faster you are at memorizing facts and learning systems, the more intelligent. There’s another element to it, too; the ability to make connections between disparate ideas; you might call that creativity. The application of knowledge in the right place, knowing what knowledge you should draw from, that might be called wisdom. You can have all of these traits, but if you can’t convey your ideas and thoughts to others, it will be hard to turn your efforts into collective knowledge, to bring out the best in others; for that, you need charisma.

Charisma can be described in a lot of ways, because there’s a lot of qualities that make a person charismatic; the root of the word is something like “the gift of grace”. There are innate qualities you might ascribe to charismatic people; tall or beautiful people might be seen as more charismatic. That said, what makes a person beautiful isn’t just confined to their facial features; how you dress, how you hold yourself, the way you look people in the eye can all be seen as beauty, and these are traits you can work on yourself.

In the same way, the traits associated with charisma can be honed to a sharp point. How emotionally in tune you are; with yourself, and with others, is a huge component of how charismatic you are. You can refine this by being mindful of your own emotions, and by trying to read the emotions of others; test out how well you read people by asking those close to you if you’ve estimated their emotional state correctly. Confidence is another key to charisma; you have to love yourself if you expect others to follow you. There are tricks to developing confidence; use them.

Expressiveness and control are also key to charisma; you need to know when it’s appropriate to get passionate, and when it’s appropriate to keep your cool. These, like the other charismatic traits, can be developed over time, but it’s not easy; you need to feel out a situation. People can tell you that you need to stand exactly like so, and speak up in exactly these circumstances, but you’re really using your emotional intelligence to feel out a room.

When you’re looking to hire event speakers, you want to find someone who is charismatic; they’ll be able to speak to your whole audience as if they were speaking to them one-on-one. That’s the power of charisma; as you’ve just read, it entirely relates to your ability to emotionally connect; that’s a type of intelligence that goes underrated, but that’s incredibly valuable.