Incongruence: The Kryptonite of Charisma
(Listen to the audio or read the post below)
Continuing on the theme of charisma from my previous post, I was thinking about what really makes charisma.
Why do some people seem to be “blessed” with this mystical magic of magnetism, and others hopelessly condemned to a life of mediocre influence?
There is one essential quality that either makes or breaks one’s charisma: congruence.
Congruence is related to confidence, but is slightly different.
While confidence is a feeling of trust in oneself, a feeling of self-assurance and certainty, congruence is the outward projection of that feeling.
Congruence is what others see when they look at you and hear you speak. If you are absolutely certain and convinced of what you are saying, then your eye movement, body movement, vocal tone, and words will be congruent with each other.
The opposite of congruence is incongruence.
Incongruence is the kryptonite of charisma because it makes your audience feel that you are not 100% sold on what you are saying.
If you don’t believe it, then why should they?
Incongruence will open the door to doubt and skepticism.
All people have doubts and hesitations when faced with a new decision. The question is whether you will decrease that doubt and move them to a decision, or increase it through incongruent communication.
If you are trying to become more charismatic and influential with clients, colleagues, superiors or in your personal life, you must take stock of how congruent your communication is.
Do you say one thing with your voice but another with your eyes? Do your words communicate conviction but your body language uncertainty? Do you agree with something verbally, but fail to follow through with action?
Looking closely at your communication style, and any incongruence, will reveal important truths about your core conviction.
You may believe something in theory, but feel hesitant to commit to it in practice.
You might be going through the motions of a presentation because “that’s your job.”
Or maybe you are just a fundamentally indecisive person in general.
All of this will undermine your charisma, your influence and make it that much harder for you to convince others of anything.
You can practice the largest and most obvious forms of charisma: smiling, projecting a strong voice, dressing well, giving compliments, making strong declarative statements, and a million other things.
And those will help your influence and are certainly important.
But without the underlying emotional certainty in what you are saying, and what you are selling, your charismatic potential will be extremely limited.
The incongruence will always show through.