CHARISMA, THE REAL DEAL!  You've seen them: people whose personal magnetism makes them stand out and propels them up the ladder of success. But is charisma -- that powerful personal magic that attracts people and promotions like a magnet -- something you are born with or something you can learn? It's common knowledge, for example, that the late president John F. Kennedy exuded charisma. Yet historians say his style was so carefully rehearsed that before running for president he even commissioned a study to determine the most effective handshake!

Those who study the phenomenon of charisma say while some people are innately more charismatic than others, there are certain things everyone can do to boost their charisma quotient. Debra Benton, author of Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership offers the following pointers:

Those who study the phenomenon of charisma say while some people are innately more charismatic than others, there are certain things everyone can do to boost their charisma quotient.

 Slow down!
Speed in speaking, moving, gesturing and walking looks nervous
and scared. Scared people get passed over, not hired or promoted.
Learn to speak in a comfortable, easygoing and welcoming way.
Don't waste time, but do speak as if you have all the time in the
world for those you are speaking to.

Shoot straight.
Everything you say or write can be done in a simple,
straightforward manner. Just do it.

Be a good storyteller.
People understand you better, remember what you say longer, and
find you smarter and more interesting if you use anecdotes to
make your points.

Be aware of your style.
Clothes don't make the man but they do make a difference. Wear
well-tailored, good quality clothes that make you look like you
are in charge. But remember, it isn't as much about your look as
how you look at things and what people see when they look at you.

Admit your mistakes.
If you are error-free, you're likely effort-free.

Don't be bullied.
If you are unjustly criticized, don't take the bait and get into
an argument. Instead calmly ask the fightstarter: "Why do you think that?" "What
do you mean?" or "What's that based on?"

Be flexible.
Be able to stand out while still fitting in with the crowd.

Be at ease with yourself and others.
Look others straight in the eye, eliminate any defensiveness and
take the edge off your voice. Never let them see you sweat!

Expect acceptance.
Regardless of rank, expect to be treated as an equal. If you
expect acceptance, you just might get it. If you don't expect it,
you definitely won't get it.

Control your attitude.
Success in business is based more on mental attitude than on
mental capabilities. Be optimistic toward yourself, others and
life. Walk in to a room with a spring in your step and a smile on
your face.

Perfect your posture.
Pull your ribcage away from your pelvis, roll your shoulders back
and down, pull your stomach in and tuck your bottom toward your
spine. Breathe deeply. You'll not only look better, but feel more
energized, alert and in control.

Think before you talk.
Think fast, pause, then speak purposefully. One CEO practices
saying everything to himself before he says it out loud so that
he will hear how it sounds and can change it if he needs to.

If you must criticize, put insults in past tense
You were an overeater, but you've gotten it in hand. You were
argumentative when you were younger, but what's nice is that
you have learned elegance and the art  of keeping the peace.

FOCUS. Look them in the eye, your gaze can flicker away
for a moment as if you were thinking but if yo uare in a crowd,
don't look around as if you were searching for other people to talk
to. Just address your friend and wait for their answers, again without
eyes roaming the room.

Remember more than just your manners, remember why we HAVE manners.
The reason is not what you think.