Michael Grinder – Charisma, Power and The School of Unlearning 

Here’s a question – how do you feel about the word charisma?

Does it inspire you? Make you think about world leaders or industry icons – those who are able to inspire others with their words and actions. Does it make you cringe? Feel somehow kind of hollow – like a veneer or side show designed to hide something? Or does it just feel like a super power you either do or do not have.

The honest answer for me – is somehow all of those things. I’ve seen charisma – that illusive magnetic quality – move mountains, raise millions of dollars and build entire organisations from nothing but an idea.

I’ve also seen the traditional definition of charisma – one of flamboyance, volume and a willingness to put on a show – be responsible for keeping some of the most incredible people, ideas and companies on the side lines. Resigned before they begin – by the mistaken belief that they don’t have what it takes to achieve that level of influence.

So much power – for one very little word.

Today’s guest takes that word charisma – and turns it inside out. Rather than an attribute that’s externally referenced – what people think of me, the end result I achieve – he believes it to be something that starts from within. 

He also believes that charisma – and influence – has very little to do with the words that we say – but rather in the space between the words – or non-verbal cues as he calls them.

In other words – he’s someone I had to talk to.

Michael Grinder has over 40 years of experience training thousands of groups. Known as the pioneer of nonverbal communication, Michael helps executives and educators assess people accurately, connect with others deeply, and build their charisma.

He’s written 14 books, which have been translated into seven languages. He’s a sought-after speaker across seven continents. He was also Teacher of the year on three different occasions and a recipient of the 2019 DACH “Mediator of the Year.”

In this conversation we dive into:

  • How to avoid being shot as the messenger of bad news – especially if you’re in a leadership position that involves naming the unpopular elephant in the room.
  • How to use your breath as a tool to immediately move your body from fight or flight – into a zone of powerful influence.
  • Why the cracks in works of great art, hold the key to understanding the two spaces we need to occupy when lifting our charisma
  • The role of ‘planting’ when it comes to diffusing conflict – or igniting possibility. GAME CHANGER
  • And finally, why there should be a school of unlearning, when it comes to the stories we tell ourselves about our own ability to influence – and the tools we are given (or in many cases not given) to make the leaps in impact we want to make.

If you’re interested in even more tools from Michaels arsenal. Can only cover so many in an audio format – if you want to learn more – I can’t recommend highly enough that you check out Michaels newsletter (link in shownotes). It’s packed full of tools, videos, resources on every area of this topic.

In this episode, what I’d love you to reflect on – or keep at the back of your mind – is this line that you’ll hear us discuss: ‘If you can’t give solutions, give sanity’. 

I think all too often, as leaders, parents – salespeople – we fall into the solution trap. The idea that our role is to have all the answers. To have a clever strategy, or winning smile, that will make all the uncertainty disappear.

The irony is that – more often than not – the people who look to you – or look up to you – they aren’t even listening. They’re measuring how you hold yourself. They’re reading your body language, your voice, your pauses and the strength and certainty of your presence.

That’s charisma. That’s influence. And those are tools you can learn.

On that note, sit back, cycle on, sharpen your pencil and get ready for a masterclass from one of the legends in his field – Michael Grinder.

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