How to Be More Charismatic With 5 Easy Steps
Did Jennifer Lawrence emerge from the womb radiating charisma? Ummm, probably. Her magnetic, disarming charm seems to come pretty naturally. But are you doomed to a life of wallpaper status if don’t share J-Law’s DNA? No way. You can learn to be more charismatic.
It helps to first understand what it means to have charisma. Some say charisma is just je ne sais quoi — one of those elusive traits you can’t define. Others do attempt definitions, and I like the breadth of this one: “a personal magic of leadership . . . [or] a special magnetic charm or appeal.”
The rewards of being charismatic can include meeting more friends, being a better leader, maintaining good dinner party conversations and getting elected President of the United States (like ‘em or not, every prez usually lists charisma pretty high on their CV) — so, upping your charisma is a worthwhile goal.
How do you become someone to whom other people are drawn? Try these easy and genuine first steps.
1. Believe that EVERYBODY has something interesting to say. Because they do.
Everybody has something they’re working on, some issue they’re thinking about, some place they’re soon traveling to, some endeavor about to get underway.
So ask people questions. Find their stories. Be interested in them. And just watch how people unfold and rise to meet your expectations.
2. Learn people’s names and use them.
That moment when you’re three sentences into small talk with a new acquaintance and you realize you’ve already forgotten their name? Ask them again. And use other people’s names liberally.
This matters for two key reasons. One, everybody loves to hear their own names. But also, the effort it takes for you to learn, remember and say someone’s name makes you more attentive to others — which is more appealing to everybody.
3. Find joy in all you do and be effusive about it.
One of my college roommates was a walking charisma cliche: she lit up the room. She was warm and attractive, but her major appeal was the perpetually happy vibe she emitted. By her accounts, the party she’d just returned from was “crazy fun,” the meal she just ate was “super delicious,” the new club downtown was “the absolutely coolest club” she’d ever been to. All of us assumed she had some sort of radar for the town’s hidden treasures.
But then I started going places with her, and later I’d hear her describe to others the things we had just done. I began to realize she was doing the same ordinary things everyone else was doing, but she saw them differently. She wasn’t faking it; she was choosing to find and express the fabulousness in everything — and the rest of us were just drawn to her glow of enthusiasm.
4. Put your phone away.
Two things that impress nobody:
The way you look when your face is pressed into your phone.
The sound of your phone pinging in the middle of a real-life conversation.
When you enter a room hunched over your phone, or you’re standing to the side scrolling through your virtual existence, you’re ignoring the real human beings around you. This is the opposite of being charming and appealing. Be open and attentive to the people and environment around you. In turn, the world will be more open and attentive to you.
5. Study the experts.
Behavioral expert Vanessa Van Edwards identifies the most important ingredient in charisma as being interested in others, while researchers at the University of Queensland suggest mental quickness is its most fundamental trait. There are instruction manuals, like Dale Carnegie’s modern-day classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, and online learning devoted to the topic, such as Charisma University. And that Jennifer Lawrence video at the beginning? There are hundreds of charisma-analyses videos similar to that.
In short, there’s enough out there to make yourself an expert in charisma. Just remember the most important step: at some point you must stop studying how and just go practice connecting with people.
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