Charisma on Command is Charlie Houpert’s book on how to become more charismatic.
While I disagreed with a few important aspects, I also liked it a lot and, overall, found it quite good.
- Charisma can be learned
- Start with the conviction that whatever happens you will be fine
- Allow yourself to be your real self
Charisma on Command -Summary
Charlie begins Charisma on Command by sharing some of his personal stories and how he became interested in charisma.
He says he was not extremely poor, but also not a naturally charismatic and outgoing personality.
He got down to learn people’s skills though and he now shares that information with the world -and on Charisma on Command-.
The Elements of Charisma
The key elements that compose charisma are the following:
- Conviction (the belief that things will work out fine)
- Energy (bring high energy, uplift people)
- Presentation (the marketing, how you present yourself)
Steve Jobs is one of the examples of conviction.
But, says the author, there is no secret formula you can replicate for conviction, you simply have to believe that you can do it and, even if you fail, it will be fine. That way, you can give it your best shot with full conviction.
The example of energy is Will Smith.
And presentation is about style, posture, voice and, among others, storytelling, to which Charlie Houpert dedicates a whole good chapter.
The 12 Charismatic Convictions
The author identifies 12 charismatic convictions:
- I’m OK, I will be OK
- I care more about my character, no others’ opinion
- I have impeccable integrity (albeit Donald Trump is also charismatic)
- Don’t try to convince others to agree or follow you (that’s needy)
- Communicate your purpose (Start With Why)
- – 12. The charismatic person dares to go there first
Charlie says to be more concerned about your character than your reputation, albeit I agree with Robert Greene in The 48 Laws of Power and would keep an eye on the reputation as well.
Leading The Charismatic Way
I really liked the way Charlie Houpert approaches leading. He says that before even thinking of “rallying the troops”, leadership begins at a much smaller scale.
You begin by saying what everyone else is thinking first and doing what everyone else wants to do but don’t dare.
You lead by breaking societal rule that are standing in the way of better connecting with other human beings.
And by being yourself even when that means looking goofy or silly.
On the looking goofy, silly or sharing a weakness, I need to raise the same red flag I raised with Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection and The Mask of Masculinity: too much goofiness, too much show of weakness and vulnerability is not good.
I do very much agree with Charlie though when he says that bringing the topic of money, sex and relationships is a leader-like, charismatic thing to do.
And I also agree with his “touching more than most people do”, “use honest praise more tan most people do” and “communicate how you feel even when it’s not the nicest thing to say.
In Charlie’s words:
The charismatic person is attractive because he is whole.
If you want to demonstrate charismatic qualities, don’t deny any aspect of yourself. Don’t shy from the truth. Live with integrity. Do what amuses you. Say what you think. Share what you feel. Don’t wait for anyone’s permission. Don’t seek anyone’s validation.
Command Attention: Don’t Just Be Interested
I liked that Charlie Houpert had the courage to call into question the most famous quote from the sacred monster of social skills’ textbooks: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
He says that “to be interesting, be interested” works at a dinner party, but in most ohter open social events, it falls flat.
I agree wit that, there are times when you need to do some more of the talking.
Charlie talks about being the center of attention but then turning the spotlight on the people around you as well, with which I also wholeheartedly agree.
The final chapter is an action plan to put together everything Charisma on /command shared and embed it in your life and in the new natural you
Day 1: Foundations
Day 2: Eye-contact (soft gaze on both eyes, don’t fix on one eye)
Day 3: Smiling
Day 5: Storytelling
Day 6: Voice
Day 7: Incantations
Day 8: Dress
Day 9: Gesticulations (this Tony Robbins example)
Day 10: Messing around
Day 11: More eye contact
Day 12: Touching
Day 13: Positivity
Day 14: Revisiting charismatic mindsets
Day 15: Take stock of honesty and trust
I must quote Charlie Houpert here:
This is about character. About trust. Charisma is a comfortableness with the world. We feel it when we sense that someone is real. We trust their actions and feel we can let our walls down with them. We trust them and we trust their intentions. The foundation of that trust is honesty. Honesty first with oneself. Then with the world.
Day 16: Genuine compliments
Day 17: No filler words
Day 18: Get loud
Day 19: What are you stressed about?
Day 20: Vocal range
Day 21: Messing around (again!)
Day 22: Shining on others
Day 23: Posture
Day 24: Killer eye contact
Day 25: Gesticulations, posture, and touching
Day 26: Slow your speaking
Day 27: Energy and incantations
Day 29 – Having fun, messing around
Day 30 – Assessment
The Is No Single Moment
Do you know how people sometims say “that was the moment when I realize that.. ” or “that was the moment I became.. “?
Well, I always smelled BS when people say that, which feels more marketing than reality.
That’s why I loved Charlie Houpert when he said:
People often ask me the moment I realized I had made a huge leap forward in my presence and charisma. The truth is, there is no single moment.Charlie Houpert
Real Life Applications
Look At People In The Eyes While Speaking
The tendency is often to look too often away while we speak. Make it a point to look at people in the eyes while you speak to them with fewer breaks that most people normally take.
Always Address An Audience With “You”
If you are presenting or delivering a speech, don’t address people as “people” or “you guys”, but use “you”, as if you were speaking to each single one of them. This was a very good tip.
The main con for me is the first one:
- Charisma Requires High Energy & Loud Voice… Really?
This is one of the elements I disagree the most with the author. He says that you need to be loud and bring the “high energy”.
That is true… Sometimes. But it’s not a general
As Olivia Fox Cabane explains in The Charisma Myth, there are many types of charisma, and most don’t entail high energy and booming voices (one example of quiet charisma is Elon Musk).
Charlie is NOT that extreme, but the advice on touching, loudness and smile remind me of this Family Guy skit:
- 7 Types of Dominance (check the last one, The Godfather, who is obviously highly charismatic)
- How to be charismatic (with the different types of charisma)
- Charisma University Review (the course by Charlie Houpert)
- Most Links Have Expired
I was really curious to see some of the videos Charlie references to, but the links were mostly expired.
- Overlap With Tony Robbins
Charisma on Command exercises, such as anchoring
(Tversky & Kahneman, 1974) and changing states are taken from Tony Robbins as in Awaken The Giant Within and Personal Power II.
That’s not necessarily a con, Robbins and the exercise is great, but maybe a clearer reference to the original author would have been nice.
- Some Pop-Psychology Not Deeply Researched
The combined results from 1,894 participants were inconsistent with the findings reported in the original study. The data provided no evidence that inducing participants to have particular facial expressions led them to rate the cartoons differently.
Same goes for incantations (check the most popular self-help myths here).
- Frames’ War Mentality
Charlie Houpert is not a “frame domination” kind of guy, and I appreicate that a lot.
But there were a couple of instances where that type of “war of frames” mindset showed up. This
Every interaction boils down to two sets of beliefs banging into one another. The beliefs with greater conviction win.
It might be due to the fact that Charlie
If you think about it, what can a “frame war” mindset give you?
Battles and combative
Lots of Wisdom
There is lots of great advice in Charisma on Command.
Compact & Practical
NO time wasting, no repetitions, no BS: Charisma on Command is brief, practical and dripping with good information and advice. Exactly how I like it.
Charisma on Command Review
Compact, great content and highly practical. I loved the book Charisma on Command.
I disagreed with a few crucial points, namely that Charlie Houpet prsents one type of charisma as if it were the only way of being charismatic or the best one.
He recommends high energy, to speak louder, to lift people up, and he says:
I remember the first time someone told me I was the most extroverted guy they knew.
As a more introverted type of person, I don’t think people should force themslves to be more extroverted or high energy.
I believe that introverts, ambiverts, highly sensitive people and quieter people should find their own way of mastering social skills and not follow the extroverts’ diktat of loud speaking and a used car’s salesman smile plastered on their face.
That being said, everyone can learn and improve with Charisma on Command. And albeit I don’t recommend you follow its recipe to a T unless that’s your nature, I do recommend the book.