We’re used to thinking of charisma as indefinable. It has been called alchemy, or a mysterious gift.
But maybe charisma isn’t such a mystery, after all.
According a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers from the University of Toronto have developed a scientific measure of charisma that they say is a simple, accurate way to figure out if you have it.
The team of psychologists worked with 966 participants in successive stages to devise the questionnaire, asking some to list characteristics of charismatic individuals, some to rate how well the characteristics cited most frequently described someone who is charismatic, and some to rate themselves. Statistical analysis winnowed out traits that often go along with charisma, including extroversion and attractiveness. No significant relationship was found between charisma and intelligence.
“What we found is charisma is composed of two elements,” says the paper’s lead author,
who now works as a consultant at Deloitte. “One relates to influence, or the ability to guide others, and the other to affability, or making other people feel comfortable and at ease.” The test consists of three questions about each category.
JFK, Springsteen…and You?
How charismatic are you? Take this quiz and see. On each item, assign yourself a rating from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Has a presence in a room
Has the ability to influence people
Knows how to lead a group
Makes people feel comfortable
Smiles at people often
Can get along with anyone