Do you have E-charisma on Zoom? Here’s how to get it

Viewed in The Wall Street Journal

Among the soft skills associated with most successful professionals and executives is charisma, the form of charm that often can inspire loyalty in peers and colleagues.

It is a key leadership trait. In the traditional office and boardroom environments, its characteristics have largely remained unchanged over the years.

Charisma game changer

But the pandemic has been a charisma game changer as a growing number of employees are forced into the unpracticed scenario of maintaining (or developing anew) their charisma over Zoom and other online calls, which have become a primary means of professional communication.

Not surprisingly, it’s entirely different from exhibiting charisma in the traditional office environment, this Wall Street Journal article finds.

Stage presence

It all starts with “stage presence.” “Ideally you’re in the middle of that screen, so you want to be close enough where there’s just a little space between the top of your head and the top of that frame,” a Wharton School managerial communications lecturer tells The Journal.

Nodding and smiling

And then there’s the non-verbal communication. Nodding is positive, reflecting engagement. The warm smile is a nice addition, communicating charisma. One expression to avoid, however, is the “resting face,” which is sort of the non-verbal antithesis of charisma.

And the pandemic is witnessing not just a focus on projecting charisma in video conference calls. Email and social media also are on the rise.


One key to successful email communication that projects charisma is personalization. “People tend to perk up when you talk about them,” a Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations professor says.

Positive amplification

Social media’s value in the age of the pandemic has increased too, offering new challenges for the projection of charisma. “You can email someone and say ‘Hi, how are you?‘ but it’s much easier to pop in someone’s comments and say something positive or amplify their content or their post.

That is a great way to keep your name top of mind,” a marketing and digital strategy consultant said.

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