Acquired Charisma

 – by Amir Raveh –

Charm is a way of getting the answer Yes without asking a clear question. – Albert Camus

I once joined a young entrepreneur in a meeting with British investors. They were sitting, suit and tie and all, on the other end of a very long table, probably expecting yet another tedious PowerPoint presentation of a business plan accompanied by the usual attempts to make them reach into their pockets and give the presenter some money.

They were quite surprised when the 26-years-old entrepreneur started with a question: “Tell me please, who in your opinion is stronger – a crocodile or a bear?” All at once, the room filled with a completely different energy as the bankers started debating.

Some of them loosened their ties and engaged in an informal conversation with the young entrepreneur. When they pleaded with him to give them the answer, he smiled and said: “It depends on the environment: in the river, the crock is king, but in the woods, the bear rules. The same applies to our software firm – we are bears in the wood of tourism software companies.”

The surprising opening generated a fantastic response, charging the room with incredible vitality and keen attention. Was our entrepreneur born with such abilities to make people listen, or had he acquired a tool along the way and chose to use it then? We say it does not matter because in the end, he attained his goal: his listeners’ heightened attention. Incidentally, he did not receive a check that day, but the investors will certainly remember him.

charismaCharisma has always been a very interesting concept. Is it an innate or an acquired quality? Can we learn and develop it? Can we find tools that would make us most charismatic? Were the (Late) Steve Jobses and Richard Bransons of the world born with it?

At Acquired Charisma we speak of tools for acquiring excellent communication and people skills. In other words – we deal with becoming a person that the world says YES to.

According to Wikipedia, charisma is a “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.”

My definition of charisma is slightly different: It is an individual’s ability to get full attention from and generate attentiveness in others.In the business world, a charismatic person is someone who gains more attention than others.

If we are playing a game of exchanging ideas (mine for yours), then our challenge is usually making others get behind your idea. Having the ability to get the other side to listen and pay close attention to our idea gives us a clear edge in this game. This can clearly be seen in non-business interactions, particularly in couples’ or parent-child relationships.

Subsequently, the more we bolster our ability to gain and maintain other people’s attention to our ideas, the more we will be able to successfully promote ideas and processes. With the right set of tools to do that, anyone can become more charismatic and therefore, more effective.

With those tools, each and every one of us can improve the state he is in. Of course, some people are super charismatic, but there is a continuum between them and those who totally lack charisma. Thus, a person born with 80% charisma can move all the way up to 95% with the right tools. Furthermore, my experience taught me that even a person born with 40% charisma can use and apply these tools to reach as high as 80% – which will significantly improve his performance.

This means, son, that you too have a chance!


Amir RavehAmir Raveh  is a Serial Entrepreneur and Investor, he founded the British investment house MG Equity Partners that invests in early stage ventures.
Currently leading with Assaf Mendelson and the EAI team the EU Virtual Accelerator Platform.
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