What is Charisma?
By Tonya Wells – We all know it when we see it. It is instantaneous personal magnetism that some individuals seem to possess as a natural born gift. They draw others to them, are fun to be around, and they make you feel like you are instantly their best friend – along with about 500 other people in the room. They are natural-born leaders, and can negotiate better deals and close them faster than most people, can persuade people past the point in negotiations where most people would simply give up, and they get what they want while making people glad they were able to help them. So, how do you get some of this charisma?
Even if you weren’t born with this special ability, you can work at refining your own skills to become more charismatic over time. It IS possible, but it will take a lot of concentrated effort on your part until you can internalize it to the point that these skills become second nature to you.
Here are some things you can incorporate into your own day to day life that will help you fake charisma even if you weren’t born with it. For now, you are just going to have to fake it until you make it if this isn’t something you were born with. It will take practice, certainly. In order for something to become habit, however, it has to be practiced often enough that you mentally internalize it. This can take 6 months to a year. So, these may feel uncomfortable to practice in public for a little while, but eventually they will feel like second nature to you.
Top 20 Techniques to Project More Charisma
1) Stand up straight, hip to one side so you don’t appear rigid.
2) Smile, and when you do smile, make sure you reflect that smile through your eyes as well. The eyes exude warmth. A smile by itself without reaching the eyes looks fake. Laugh! Don’t be afraid to crack a joke or two. It makes you seem more human to the rest of the crowd.
3) Use open body posture and open hands when describing something. Don’t cross your arms or legs.
4) Make direct eye contact, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want someone to feel like you’re trying to use your x-ray vision to see what color of undies they’re wearing.
5) Nod your head when you approve of the way the conversation is going. Don’t nod when you don’t like the way it is going. This will help subconsciously redirect people if they are going off on a tangent.
6) Lean in slightly towards the person. Don’t invade their personal space, but leaning forward shows that you are into the conversation.
7) Use a light touch or pat on their shoulder while you’re shaking their hand. Don’t be afraid to give them a pat on the back for a job well done or handshake to thank them for their time. You want a firm handshake, not a limp one; however, you don’t want to give them a handshake so firm it breaks a bone.
8) Say the person’s name at least once or twice during the conversation. People LOVE to hear other people say their name. This will also help you remember their name the next time you meet, which is another trait charismatic people have. If you never forget a name, you will make people feel very important the next time you meet because you felt they were important enough to remember who they are.
9) Make sure you are following a good diet and exercise program. This will help you project much more energy – people who radiate energy get others excited to be around them and motivate them to action.
10) Be passionate and positive about your work. Don’t pick work or a job you don’t believe in because you can’t fake this.
11) Be trustworthy, and don’t do things that will question your integrity or ability to stick to your word. Don’t commit to those things of which you are unsure or that might put your ethics into question – ever.
12) Be approachable. Keep your door open at the office when possible. Have lunch with your people. Visit the office kitchen, and don’t be too busy to chat with your staff for a minute while you’re in there.
13) If you get nervous during presentations, try not to frown, round or shrug your shoulders, or look stiff.
14) Take a deep breath and relax. Believe in yourself, and if you don’t – fake it till you believe it!
15) Try not to get stuck talking to just one person in the room. Make your rounds. Work the room. Excuse yourself from whom you are talking with by patting them on the shoulder, smiling warmly, and saying, “It’s been great getting a chance to speak with you, but I see someone else over here that I need to say hello to before the meeting starts.”
16) Don’t monopolize the conversation. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Let someone else have a chance to speak.
17) Don’t talk just to fill the dead space. If what you are about to say doesn’t add value to the conversation, answer a question, or help break the ice, keep your mouth shut. Charismatic people aren’t uncomfortable with silence and don’t feel the need to fill the void with mindless chatter.
18) Check your arrogance at the door. Even if you ARE smarter than everyone in the room, don’t act like it. Humility will exude far more charisma than arrogance ever will.
19) Don’t talk down to or condescendingly to others, whether they are your employees/direct reports, people younger than you, or even people who are less educated than you. The minute you do this, any goodwill you have built up in them will go straight out the door, and your chances of ever getting them to stick up for you or back you up when you need it have been blown. In fact, it will very likely put a target on your back by at least one person to get back at you for making them feel inferior.
20) Compliment someone genuinely. Don’t throw this out there right off the bat, or it will sound disingenuous. Wait until the conversation is almost over, and find something to complement them about then.
If you can practice at least two or three of these skills once a day, before too long, you will be the magnet in the room who everyone is dying to talk to. Just remember what your mom told you – practice makes perfect!
For Further Reading:
- How to Light Up a Room: 55 Techniques to Help You Increase Your Charisma, Build Rapport, and Make People Like You
- The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
- Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion