I happened to be walking with a social scientist one day, when we were stopped on the city sidewalk by this super-charismatic woman who was soliciting charity donations.

Besides having one-in-a-million looks (speaking as a photographer), her expression, tone, and manner conveyed that she was genuinely happy (not overly earnest, nor fake, nor pushy, nor airheaded/high) to be representing some charity, and she instantly liked us, and thought we might want to hear about this charity. (I did manage to keep my money, but I had a lot of practice dodging those street teams.)

After we walked away, the social scientist (also a woman) said, matter-of-factly, "No one has ever said an unkind word to her." I could imagine that being literally true.

I've met a number of very charismatic people, but they usually seem to have some awareness of it. I'm thinking maybe one of the higher tiers of charisma effect might be when the person doesn't know (or doesn't seem to know) how charismatic they are. Maybe they give the impression of seeing the world and others through a more appealing lens, and people respond well to that.

One of the best literary works on (in part) the subject of charisma was Joseph Konrad's Heart of Darkness, in the form of Kurtz. It's particularly relevant to much of this article. For example, here's a description of the oratory powers of the charismatic and influential Kurtz:

> "From that point he soared and took me with him. The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words. There were no practical hints to interrupt the magic current of phrases, unless a kind of note at the foot of the last page, scrawled evidently much later, in an unsteady hand, may be regarded as the exposition of a method. It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’"

P.S. including charisma as a character attribute in D & D was a stroke of genius.

I approach charisma with a specific lens, that of acting.

Being a "star" has little to do with acting talent, in the sense that I define it as an actor and director. They often have little range, and even if they do, are most often called on to do their one thing over and over again. They often can't take direction -- which is ok, since what the audience wants is what they give naturally. It's not even always about beauty, especially for men. But audiences like to go watch them, somehow.

A few big stars are also great actors (as I define the term). But we get to know their acting skill because they can parlay their star-power into roles that show off their skills. A great many equally talented, attractive actors will never get so much as a hemorrhoid commercial.

I never get to work with "Big Stars", but even at my level I know that some actors can hold attention. I know some of the tactics that they use, and can sometimes teach it. But often, I can't put into words why one actor got the part and another didn't.

Which dives me nuts. I like helping actors improve. Much of the silly acting games involve un-learning their habits so that they can rebuild something from scratch. It's baked in at a very deep level, probably in their very earliest days of leaning how to speak and move.

The article didn't touch on it, but I think the only professional skill that will survive any technological revolution is charisma. The root of all commerce is convincing somebody to give you money. One can do it by providing comfort, enabling goals, or threatening harm. But a charismatic person can, as the saying goes, sell ice to penguins.
A lot of commenters here seem to be thinking of the sense of "charisma" that one unusually encounters in conversation nowadays, the quality some people have of being very outgoing and engaging. This article isn't about that. The author is talking about the sociological concept developed by Weber and others; the book at this link is a pretty good treatment:

For anyone interested in a practical book about charisma and how to learn/develop it, I highly recommend this book that completely changed my life: The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

> In Weber’s words: “What is alone important is how the [charismatic] individual is actually regarded by those subject to charismatic authority, by his ‘followers’ or ‘disciples.’ … It is recognition on the part of those subject to authority which is decisive for the validity of charisma.”

> Reflecting on her rare experiences of charisma across 25 years of interviewing notable figures, the newspaper columnist Maggie Alderson wrote: “I still don’t understand what creates the effect. … If not fame, beauty, power, wealth and glory then what? It must be innate. I find that quite thrilling.”

"Thrilling" is not a word that I would choose to describe the possibility that there is an innate force that makes people very convincing for no reason.

This is an excellent and thought provoking article. It provides historical context on a concept that is timeless yet still not fully understood in the modern day.

My own take away from this article is difficult to state concisely. I see charisma in terms of dominance and submissiveness juxtaposed to activeness and passiveness. If we consider that an active-dominance is oppressive or authoritarian then we can see the object of that active-dominance as passive-submissive which maps onto our idea of victim or weakness. Contrast that to an active-submission which can be seen as worship or devotion and the object of the active-submission is the passive-dominance that this article calls charisma.

This formulation suggests that charisma appears as the result of worship/devotion which I have defined as an individual actively choosing to submit. I believe that is why understanding charisma is so elusive. You can't actively be charismatic because by definition the charismatic person is the object of submissive activity.

It's mostly salesmanship, boss level.