Charisma – the X Factor

Jazz Singer

The dictionary describes Charisma as: ‘A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm’. ‘Personal magnetism or charm’. ‘A personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others’.

Charisma or Stage Presence is an indefinable ‘something’ that identifies a unique or captivating performer  -that elusive X Factor . You may not know what it is but you can tell whether a singer has it when you see it!

Do I Have Charisma?
Everyone has charisma to varying degrees, some people need to nurture and develop their talents and abilities whilst others are unable to tap into their potential unless the circumstances are right for their character. For instance, an individual who is normally considered quiet may ‘come alive’ on stage to produce an exquisite or exciting performance whereas another may sparkle in an office environment.

Can I Develop Charisma?
There are certain qualities and skills that can be learned or nurtured but charisma is more than just a set of techniques and requires personal magnetism or natural expressiveness from within the performer.

First impressions count, how you look and carry yourself both onstage and off may be the first thing that the audience sees.

Articulation and communication skills are important – if you cannot be understood then the audience will not relate to your music. Eye contact with members of the audience is essential – but trying to maintain this throughout a complete performance is unrealistic – especially when the artists are using a stage as looking down causes the head to drop and constricts the throat! (Tip: Look slightly above their heads and occasionally glance at individuals). Talk to the audience, introduce songs, allow your personality to come through even if your following a script. Include movement, gestures and facial expressions to draw the audiences attention to your performance.

Observing & listening to others – let the audience feel how important they are to you. Take time to talk and listen to those who come to see your act off-stage as well as on-stage!

Persuasiveness, understanding plus the ability to adapt and motivate others are skills that every good band leader, musician and singer should aim to develop these skills if they wish to work with others successfully.

Losing yourself in the moment allows the audience a glimpse of the person within. Letting people see that you are enjoying yourself creates warmth and honesty in the performance.

These skills are present in most people to varying degrees, it is not enough to learn them by rote, the individual should find time to search within themselves and work on developing positive qualities so that it comes over as natural

The performer can never have too much ‘practice’ – that doesn’t just mean doing the same things repeatedly, but also to explore, experiment and integrate new methods with natural abilities and techniques.

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