If you were to ask anyone what they look for in a tradie, we bet you’d get answers like, experienced, professional, fast, or well-reviewed.
You’d never expect to hear a person look for traits like magnetic, or charming, or someone I can have a laugh with while we get everything sorted. People are looking for trades professionals, after all, not romantic partners.
Yet charisma matters for tradies of any level of seniority. Hell, charisma matters for just about any professional looking to run a successful career.
In this article, we’ll be diving into what charisma means for tradies. We’ll be exploring what charisma is, what it can do to help the average tradie run a better business and delight more clients, as well as the limits of charisma as a tool in a tradie’s belt.
What is Charisma?
Charisma refers to the ability of a person to compel others to think, feel, and act differently than they otherwise would. It’s a key component of a person’s ability to convince others of a position and inspire loyalty and devotion.
It can be used interchangeably with charm, influence, and appeal, though we note that true charisma achieves a combination of the three. A charismatic person draws people in, intrigues them to listen closer, and can affect their preferences and decision-making.
Charisma is About Communication
First and foremost, charisma is a matter of communication, which is a concept that runs much deeper than most people recognise. Any feat of charisma involves three things: a communicator, a message, and an audience.
When a communicator (i.e. the person who wants to be charismatic) has a point that they want to get across to an audience, they take that information and craft it into a message. Along the way, they want to make sure that the message is clear and well-made, but also that the way they deliver the message gets through to the people listening.
In turn, the listener receives the message, unpacks it, and then very quickly forms an opinion of the message and the communicator who sent it.
In order to set yourself up to really impress your audiences, you need to be aware that the greatest communicators are oftentimes some of the best listeners. They know how to key into feedback, and extract lessons on what their audiences want to hear, and how they want to hear it.
Charisma is Innate
For the vast majority of people, charisma is something that you either have, or you don’t.
If you think back to your adolescence, you’ll probably recall at least a handful of peers whom you’d call charismatic. They never took any classes or seminars on charm—they simply were charming.
The same dynamic holds true for many adults. Most of us go through life without receiving formal lessons in charisma, and so we either wind up there or we don’t.
If you’re the sort of person born with an innate charisma, then congratulations!
If not, you’ll be happy to know…
Charisma Can Be Learned
Charisma is a skill that can be taught and learned. There are organisations that have been built around this sole purpose, and professionals who base their livelihood on the act of passing charisma along to others.
Many elements of charisma, like active listening and projecting confidence, can be picked up with practice and guidance. As long as you have a good grasp of what charisma entails, time to train yourself, and a feedback mechanism (like a mirror, or a buddy to help you course-correct), then you can definitely pick up a knack for it.
What a Charismatic Personality Can Do for a Tradie
Now that we’ve brushed up on what charisma means, let’s take a look at what it can do.
1. Charisma Draws Attention
The world is full of businesses and the people who run them. We’re sure you know by now how hard it can be to stand out and get people to notice you out of the dozens of tradesmen in your area.
We’re also sure that, by now, you’ve tried everything there is to try when it comes to marketing your business. However well or poorly that went, you should know that developing your charisma as a tradie entrepreneur can make a difference when it comes to the quality and volume of your business’ leads.
People are drawn to those who exhibit charisma. Charismatic personalities are captivating in and of themselves, with charismatic people also knowing exactly what to do to make listeners feel appreciated. Since one of the main features of charisma is an ability to build rapport with an audience, those who have mastered it know exactly how to pull a crowd in and keep them engaged.
Likewise, charisma opens doors for new marketing avenues. If you struggle to get a single, spoken word out, then it’s clear that podcasting and vlogging aren’t for you—which is a shame, because people in 2020 love podcasts and video media.
2. Charisma Makes for Stronger Leaders
Leaders with charisma are in a far better position to lead and inspire action than those without it. It goes without saying that, as an employer, you’d benefit from the ability to speak with authority and develop genuine relationships with the people who keep your business running.
But beyond the obvious, “Strong boss leads, strong company,” dynamic, there are levels to charisma that lend well to leading a business. Notably, the skill of promoting inclusion and engagement among employees (i.e. “Everyone matters,”) as well as the all-too-uncommon ability to draw honest feedback.
The alternative to leading with charisma is to presenting yourself as a sub-optimal manager at best. At worst, you’re either an out-of-touch employer without a care for their employees, or a nightmare to have to deal with, plain and simple.
3. Charisma Promotes Loyalty
We mean this in terms of both your customers and your employees.
A charismatic personality is key to forming genuine relationships with the people who choose to patronise your business. The instinct to care about the people you interact with is a big part of charm, and coincidentally a great way to let customers know that you (and by extension, your business) are sincere in your pledge to serve.
In the same way, being engaging and approachable can help you form very real friendships with the people who call you up for tradie work—and it’s no stretch to say that people would rather spend on their friends than on strangers, when given the chance.
4. Charisma Prevents Disasters
Every business is bound to have its share of failures. Failures keep us humble and allow us to learn and improve over time.
However, some failures also pose the risk of losing more than we’d gain from the lesson. Lawsuits, for one, are outcomes best avoided—and so are negative reviews from either a lot of people, or a handful of the wrong people.
Luckily, there’s a grain of truth behind the stereotype of people who can talk or charm their way out of anything.
Having a strong set of facts to make your case is only half the battle, and the other half is most definitely covered by charisma. Charismatic people have a way of humanising themselves, and making others feel sympathy in times when anger would be the default response.
If you ever find yourself in a position where the consequences of your actions could ruin you, then a fine amount of smooth-talking can help you lessen the blow. That is unless you deserve to be ruined, in which case all we can do is cross our fingers and hope your conscience rings true.
5. Charisma Boosts Sales
The final way a charismatic personality could be a blessing for any tradie is because it makes the art of sales that much easier to pull off. For as long as there have been goods to sell, there have been charismatic people who run ahead of the pack when it comes to closing deals.
People are emotional animals, and that fact doesn’t go away the minute people have to make financial decisions. If anything, many of the average person’s financial choices are governed by emotion rather than by logic.
Charismatic tradies tap into this fact and take advantage of the many different ways that a more personable approach to sales can boost conversions and increase profits over time.
What a Charismatic Personality Can’t Do for a Tradie
Now, before anything else, it’s important to define what exactly it is that makes charisma effective—and by extension, when you’ve overshot the mark. Too little charisma can mean you’re stiff or abrasive. Conversely, some would be right to argue that too much charisma can do you more harm than good.
Charisma isn’t a substitute for skill or work ethic, but rather a necessary complement. It enables you to communicate your value to clients and partners, as well as to sort any number of tricky situations that come up over the course of doing business.
We encourage you to view charisma as the glue that binds a construct together. Your talent and experience make for durable materials, and your overall vision gives shape to the thing. Charisma is simply there to help the entire thing stand as a singular and compelling work of art.
Moreover, it takes a healthy amount of sense to know when to deploy charisma. There are times that call for charm, and times that require you to lean on the technical side of what you know. If you know that a lead is anxious about the outcome of a project, it can be just as, if not more helpful to talk them through the reasons why your designs or techniques will carry them to the end result they’re after.
Charisma can do plenty for a tradie’s career, but it can’t do everything.
We highly recommend paying more attention to charisma as you grow and learn as a leader in the trades industry. It can improve your business and career in multiple different ways—plus, it’s a valuable life skill to boot.
However you choose to approach charisma from this point moving forward, we urge you to remain true to yourself and avoid deception at all costs. There’s a reason why snake oil salesmen have such a bad reputation: they lean on charisma and nothing else when selling products that leave their customers worse off instead of better.
To help you back your charm with substance, have a look at the rest of our blog to learn more tradie tips and secrets.
You can also find related concepts to this article in our guide to personal branding.