I'm reading Olivia Fox Cabane's "The Charisma Myth" and without rambling too much, I'll just say it's one of the best "professional self-improvement" books, if I can call that a genre, I've ever read. And I've read a lot of them because a ton of that was reading research for a talk I just gave a few months ago. Most in that genre are useless platitudes or fluff or common sense dressed up in 150 pages.
The book says: charisma is a skill, and here's what it is, and here's how you practice it. Olivia breaks it down analytically in terms of behavior, but then also focuses hard on visualization. I think this book will really change the direction of my leadership & management work because I always used to regard visualizations as kind of new-age hippie stuff where I did it myself but felt uncomfortable doing it with others.
She makes two points that I think really changed my mind: athletes use visualization all the time. All the time. And then there's method acting. Before method acting, actors would try to deliberately control their behavior to act, but now to us it looks ridiculous and histrionic. Method acting was about "getting into the character", which is really just elaborate visualization writ large.
That really sold me. I'm pushing visualization like crazy now. I don't care if it makes me seem like a crazy hippie. All I have to say is, athletes have known this forever, and, number two, method acting. The end.
She weaves a lot of stuff together, from very general Buddhist meditation to detailed analysis of the proper way to shake someone's hand, but I have to say, I'm probably the most jaded and skeptical person I know when it comes to these kinds of books but this one is golden. Absolutely worth the read.