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The 4 Types of Captivation - which one are you?

17 September 2015

Captivation is a skill and like any skill can be learned. 

We each have our own way to enchant, create intrigue and captivate others. When asked who comes to mind as a charismatic person, many people will mention a person who is naturally extroverted: Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton.

Captivation is a component of charisma, combining elements of both connection and confidence. Connection both with ourselves and the ability to build rapport and connect with others. Connection is about how we make others feel. 

Confidence comes from within, our certainty about who we are, what we care about and how we contribute to our environment. Whilst confidence is situational, it’s also directly connected with self worth.

For instance, you may have years of experience in advertising and feel very confident pitching, putting together award winning campaigns and winning people over. In this context you feel confident and charismatic. People come to you for advice, listen to your ideas and value your opinions. 

The end of the day approaches and you’re on a first date. Are you still the same charismatic character your colleagues observed in the office an hour earlier? For some people, yes, for others, not so much! Which may seem confusing and explain why after bringing the conversation back to how great you are and the wonderful stuff you’re doing at work, your date's eyes begin to glaze over. 

To be captivating takes both confidence and connection with the person in front of you. In the instance of a large audience, connection can be scaled - a topic for another post. 

There are 4 character types for captivation, each with it’s own resourceful and un-resourceful version:

  1. Invisible - ninja or nerd
  2. Shadow - remedy or repellant
  3. Aloof - stand out or stuck up
  4. Captivating - divine or distracting

Let’s explore these. A person with low confidence and low connection (disconnected with themselves and not great at building rapport) may have highly developed technical expertise (they prefer to connect with things over people). Their expertise is sort after and valued and when their expertise is the focal point of discussion, watch them shine. The flip side of this is they become invisible in situations where they are not able to demonstrate their expert knowledge.

A person with low confidence and high connection, has a knack for “being there when you need assistance”  AND even when you don’t. They thrive on supporting others and taken to the unresourceful end of the spectrum, their efforts may seem smothering or annoying. 

People with high levels of confidence and low levels of connection are noticeable, admirable because of their self-confidence and may be excellent at first impressions. The less desirable version of this captivation character is that they can be seen as aloof or unaware of how they impact those around them. 

Individuals with both high self confidence and high connection are the captivator kings and queens! These individuals are engaging and make those around them feel at ease and included. Taken to the unresourceful extreme, the combination of high connection with high confidence can have “celebrity-like” qualities and be used to influence for self-gain.

Use your captivation character for its highest purpose and recognise where you shine- what’s your character captivation type?

Kerryn Gamble develops distinctive and meaningful workplaces. Find out more at and


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