Every time I think about powerful examples of charismatic presence, Sir Anthony Hopkins’s mesmerizing performance in Silence of the Lambs always comes to mind.
Who can forget the very first scene Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter appears? Portrayed as a sadistic and brutal killer, we expect a deranged unkempt psycho, flinging himself from wall to wall, growling at us like a wild animal.
But, to our surprise, we are confronted instead with a calm, well groomed and tidy personality, standing perfectly still and confident, in a relaxed and congenial manner with a welcoming smile on this face looking at us with a steady gaze. Yet, despite the façade of congeniality, we sense in that smile and steady gaze, a tiger stalking his victim.
And all of this comes through the silver screen without Sir Anthony Hopkins saying a single word!
What a fantastic entrance! It was the silent portrayal of the charismatic killer that loudly projected, “Beware, for danger lurks within beauty!”
What a genius performance! What a model of charismatic presentation!
While Sir Anthony Hopkins’s performance was indeed extraordinary, the technique he used to project such powerful charismatic radiation is very well known.
It is fondly known among actors as “The Method”.
Here is a definition from Wikipedia.com
Method acting is any of a family of techniques used by actors to create in them the thoughts and feelings of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances. Though not all method actors use the same approach, the “method” in method acting usually refers to the practice, influenced by Constantin Stanislavski and created by Lee Strasberg, in which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory.
It is clear that, to project and communicate emotions to the audience, actor’s employs thought to create powerful emotional fields that expand and project outward even through the lens of the camera!
It does not matter if the actual thought had anything to do with the dialogue. The actor radiates the emotions created by these thoughts just as he delivers his lines. It’s not the thoughts that matter as much as the emotions.
In a way, there is no “acting” involved. The simply thinks, and as the actor thinks, the movement and emotions follow without conscious control. The actor becomes the characters and behaves as the character would behave. In fact, the more unconscious the performance, the greater the effect.
This is the method taught in commercial acting.
For example, what if we were to do commercial for soap?
Any expert salesperson will tell you that when you sell soap, you don’t really sell soap. What you are really selling is the good feeling associated with soap – the pleasure of the soft texture of the soap on your skin, the fresh feeling after, the wonderful fragrance and especially, through the use of gorgeous models, the promise of beauty and…Ummm…sex!
In fact, during my training, sex thoughts were a strong source of powerful emotions. Just think of a favorite sexual thought and notice the increase in energy and radiance from your very being.
Sex is a powerful source of both physical and emotional energy, and is a very viable source of attractive charismatic radiation.
Many charismatic people unconsciously exude sex as they communicate which makes for a very strong magnetic attraction.
So how does sex work in selling soap? First, you bring up sexual thoughts which automatically affect your very physiology. Your pupils dilate and your voice gets real husky.
You look at the camera and say lines as if speaking to a lover. Try it! In privacy, tape yourself talking about cleaning the kitchen in a factual way. Then do the same thing, but this time in a highly sexual manner as if you were preparing the kitchen for a sexual encounter. Play the clips back. You will notice a HUGE difference.
That is what charismatic presence is all about.
We radiate our internal thoughts through our feelings. People don’t pick up on our thoughts. They pick up on our feelings and from those feelings, make an educated guess on our thoughts based on the other circumstances surrounding you at that time.
The quality of the thought matters. Whether thought is negative or positive determine whether you exude attractive positive emotion or repellant negative vibes.
There is a big difference in quality between a lover and letch.
It is through this emotional vibration that one influences another. The intensity of the emotions determines how powerfully your charismatic field affects others.
Thoughts are as individual as people are. But emotions are more basic, more formless, and more energetic. The range of emotions varies little from person to person and is independent of race, gender and culture.
By creating feelings within us, we are able to influence the feelings of others around us. And, for most of us as human beings, as we feel, so do we act.