?The reason we?re successful, darling? My overall charisma, of course.? ? Freddie Mercury
You want to be more charismatic ? but how?
You?re terrified any attempt you make to draw people in may come across like the snake oil charm of a shiny-suited salesperson. And that?s a good thing ? because it will.
So how do you do it? How do you become the kind of person others want to be around? How do you light up a room ? even a little bit ? and still hold onto the qualities that make you, well, YOU.
There?s no doubt having charisma can help you move mountains ? or at least nudge them in your preferred direction. And there?s nothing wrong with trying to be more likeable because, if done right, it will also reflect positively on the lives of people around you.
But there?s a difference between developing authentic charisma and that you display purely for your own ends.
Here are some tips for getting it right.
1. Avoid fake like a snake.
Fake charisma is a terrible thing. You?ll come across like you?re trying too hard sell a vacuum cleaner or anything ? and, if you are, your cover will be blown. Instead of drawing people in, they?ll back away ? permanently. So don?t go in with all lights blazing: begin with a low-key, curious approach to your interactions with others.
2. Let your eyes do the work.
Legend has it that the truly charismatic person walks and talks and gestures wildly? and every eye in the room follows them. That?s only true if you?re Tony Robbins. Most of us have greater presence when we?re standing still. Looking like you?re not in a hurry is the sign of a master.
When talking to someone don?t glare or stare, just keep your eyes lightly on theirs. Don?t glance over their shoulders even if you spot a more interesting target across the room and ? definitely ? do not be distracted by your phone. Answer your texts in the bathroom.
3. The art of listening isn?t listening.
Contrary to what you may have heard, the art of listening isn?t listening. It is conveying that you?ve heard what the other person is saying. So smile, nod, frown (if appropriate), affirm, reflect, summarise and ask good questions. Note: if you want to do those things well, you will actually have had to have listened.
4. Don?t talk about yourself.
Truly. Be engaged in what you do. Or stand for something ? but don?t shove your opinions on others. When asked a question (about yourself), don?t leap on the stage: it?s not an audition. Answer briefly and humbly. People will be far more attracted by your ability to listen to them ? than your ability to talk about yourself. Even if it?s REALLY witty.
5. Convey to someone that you like them.
The tale as old as time (or at least as old as Dale Carnegie) is that people want to be liked. Me, you, that blustery drunk holding forth, that shy person in the corner, everyone. So focus less about whether you are being liked and more on whether the person in front of you knows you like them. If another person walks away from you feeling good or even a tiny bit better than they did earlier, you have done your best work.
6. Dress up (a bit).
Clothes don?t make a person. And charisma comes from within ? not without. But don?t dress like a bum, neglect your personal hygiene, and expect to draw the crowds. You?re asking (way) too much.
7. Don?t put others down ? even if they?re not there.
It?s uncool to up your own stakes by putting someone else down. You?ll just come across mean. Or you?ll be remembered for mean remarks. And that?s not what you want or need. So aim to build people up. And if you can?t do that about a particular person, say nothing.
8. Know the best of yourself.
This is the secret sauce. Know your top three positive qualities. Kindness. Relatability. Curiosity. Creativity. Empathy. Serenity. Whatever. Aim to convey these qualities in every situation ? work, with your partner, kids or sister, in phone calls, in the street, with the young guy serving you at the supermarket checkout.
It?s not about being so nice that you?re a sucker for other people?s demands or even nastiness; it?s not about being passive when you need to be assertive. Charisma is about consistently revealing who you are ? sometimes confidently, sometimes quietly. And, sometimes, just by showing up.
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