Charisma; a gift that you've either got, or you haven't

It’s an unfathomable quality that millions seek, but few ever possess.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage's party could enjoy more support at next year's general election, a new poll suggests
This charming man - Nigel Farage

It’s not something that can be worked on, nor trained for, nor faked.

It’s the key to opening locked doors, winning the girl of your dreams and achieving whatever you want.

It is, unquestionably, charisma.

Keith Harrison

The word comes from the Greek for ‘gift’ and if you’ve got it, then you’ve got it.

If not, just let it go and accept that all attempts to acquire it are doomed to failure.

In fact, if you have to try at all, then you’ll never ever have it.

Whether it be telling a joke, holding court in the pub or being taken seriously at a business meeting, charisma is what sees you through.

Without it, you’re just seen through.

We all know people in our circle of friends who light up the room when they walk in.

And when they do speak; people listen.

You’re not sure if it will be witty, clever, devastating or interesting, but the person carries a presence that projects intrigue, adventure, unpredictability, fun, wisdom.

Online American psychologists offer tips on how to ‘appear’ charismatic (‘puff your chest out, make arm motions, take up lots of space – that’ll be $40 please’) but you can never really pull it off without the ‘gift’ in the first place.

And it matters not that the gifted can’t always deliver; charisma sticks with them and failure merely adds another layer.

Jose Mourinho’s allure is undimmed by a trophyless season at Chelsea; Steve McClaren could win the Champions League and still not win people over.

It’s not about looks, style or dress sense – just ask Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson bike
Not exactly the most stylish man in London

But, somehow, it IS more often than not a male thing.

Charismatic women all-too-often carry the unwanted distraction of their own sex appeal; from Marilyn Monroe to Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, their undoubted presence is weighed down by their beauty, although many would argue it merely adds to it.

George Clooney apart, men tend to escape a similar fate.

Which brings us to a middle-aged man, privately-educated, well-dressed, not particularly tall, not especially handsome, standing outside a pub with a cigarette in one hand and an empty pint pot balancing on his head.

Behind him, drinkers gawp through the window in amazement, watching his every move.

Opposite, ranks of photographers elbow each other for the best angle, while TV camera crews and journalists hang on his every word.

Some would say none of it makes any sense. Others back every syllable to the hilt.

But everyone is listening to Nigel Farage in a way that Red Ed, Cleggy and even Call Me Dave can only dream of.

Why? Because he’s got charisma – and it can help him get away with political murder. He knows it, too.

Take this opening barrage to Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council: “I don’t want to be rude, but you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. Who are you? I’d never heard of you. Nobody in Europe had ever heard of you.

“We don’t know you, we don’t want you, and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better.”

And that’s when he didn’t ‘want to be rude’.

The resulting furore would have crushed many politicians, but Nigel’s trusty shield of charm and charisma saw him through unscathed.

It may even see him grab some sort of power in next year’s ‘proper’ election.

But somehow I doubt it.

Because if there’s one thing more powerful than charisma in politics . . . it’s events, dear boy, events.

Comments for: "Charisma; a gift that you've either got, or you haven't"

sbayley

Not sure it's 'Charisma' more a buffoon factor, both come across as being something other than the media polished clones the main parties usually produce. Watched both Farage and Boris appear on Have I Got News For You before they made it big and both were made to look complete idiots, maybe that's what people warm to but is that charisma.

markie

I think it is a sort of charisma, combined with intelligence, ample common sense, a sense of homour, and a sort of likeability.

Some of the regular politicians have a couple of these attributes usually intelligence and one other. Poor old red Ed and Nick Clegg have only got intellegence which makes them both a liability to their parties.