Coach Taveniere was my biology teacher in high school. I loved his class not only because I was interested in biology—but because he was interested in me. Coach respected his students by asking questions and listening thoughtfully. He pulled from us a special understanding of biology through our own experiences. I remember him saying, “I’m listening for brilliance, people!” and then listening with the look of eager curiosity as though he was a student, too. We felt smart and interesting in his class. People with natural charisma are alive and in the moment. They go beyond yes/no questions to ask for unique perspectives. Like Coach Taveniere, they release people into break-through thinking and the expression of their best ideas. Your charisma can be measured, according to Alex “Sandy” Pentland in his book, Honest Signals, How They Shape Our World. People who spend more time in authentic conversation behave in ways that allow people to access their own genus. This is the key to conversational charisma.
Lou Solomon is the founder of Interact. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the adjunct faculty at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur.com, CEO.com, and Fast Company.