Some people just have it; that special something that instantly draws us to them. A conversational style, that energy, that spark of life that makes us want to be in their presence.
Charismatic people build and sustain relationships with people they come in contact with. They make those people feel more important and often inspire great loyalty or work output from them. Even if you are not naturally charismatic you can train yourself to be.
Here are 7 important traits of charismatic people that you can try to incorporate into your daily life:
1. Eye Contact
Remarkably charismatic people instinctively know that success is not about how we dress, it’s about what we do. When someone is speaking with you, look them in the eye, this is a crucial component of any conversation. The speaker feels important, is more engaged with what they are saying and feels appreciated by you, their listener. If you are talking, looking someone in the eye, it will focus their attention and allow you the opportunity to gage whether your point is being received. If you are giving a presentation, don’t focus on one person but try to make eye contact with many members of the audience, it will make the event more personal and will engage the whole audience in your speech.
2. Listen Actively
Put your phone away, don’t check it at all! The people you are conversing with deserve your undivided attention. Connecting with other people is disrupted by connecting with stuff. Gadgets inhibit active listening and diminish the speaker’s importance. Active listening consists of two components, providing your undivided attention and engaging with the speaker. Ask questions, seem interested in what is being said. By asking questions people will open up to you more and remember and think of you as a good listener. Being a good listener is often equated with being a positive person. Paul Sacco, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work studied the habits of active listeners and found that many of us only listen with 25% efficiency. Good listeners maintain eye contact, nod their head, ask relevant questions but most importantly spend more time listening than talking.
3. Smile for Real
This may sound cliché but we can all tell the difference between a genuine smile and a fake smile. The fake smile is that thin lipped upturn of the mouth. It conveys a sense of tolerance. People who smile with their eyes and mouth exude more positivity and happiness. Julia Roberts has a smile that radiates from within. People with big, inviting smiles make others feel more at ease and receptive to conversing with them.
4. Remember Names
Remembering names can be tricky for many of us. For some of us, introductions go in one ear and out the other! We don’t know who we are talking to and are too embarrassed to ask. Imagine how impressive it is if someone we have only met once before approaches us and knows our name, as well as our partner and children’s names. We are trying to figure out who they are but they seemingly know our whole life story, we immediately think, “We must be important and special”. There are a number of tricks charismatic people use to remember names. When you meet someone for the first time and they introduce themselves immediately use their name in your reply. “Hi Mark, it’s nice to meet you, Mark.” End your conversation by using their name again, it will make them feel special and remembered. You can always cheat later and put a descriptive word in your phone next to the person’s name.
5. Stand Tall and Straight
People with good posture who stand up tall seem more confident. If you walk around with stooped shoulders and your head down it puts off an aura of stay away, don’t come near me, I am boring and uninteresting. If you stand straight with your head held high and your shoulders back you are inviting others to you. You are creating an opportunity to be seen and space for others to engage with you. For those of you who need help improving your posture, consider getting a trampoline or inversion table and jumping for 10 minutes every morning.
6. Speak Clearly and With Meaning
Take your time, speak at a comfortable rate, use words sparingly and with due consideration. Remember you are striving for a greater degree of active listening which means less talking. Communicate your points clearly and concisely, know the objective of your words. One of the most famous communicators and a naturally charismatic individual, Martin Luther King, Jr., knew how to speak clearly to one person or a large gathering of people. His words were always chosen carefully to have the greatest impact on his audience. You have to go to the meeting or you get to go to the meeting and meet some new and interesting clients. Which statement is sending a positive, confident and happy message out into the world and which one is the opposite?
7. A Little Humility
You know you’re great, but why toot your own horn? We all want to interact with positive, happy people. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to praise other people for their contributions, work or effort. Don’t talk badly about someone you know, don’t talk behind their back and don’t laugh at other people. Friends may enjoy a little gossip at first but then they will start worrying you are exposing their secrets too or worse laughing at them behind their backs.
Invite people in, find out what they know, shine the spotlight on someone other than yourself. You can take steps to improve your charisma and achieve better business results and increased personal success. Always make your audience, your co-workers, your clients, and your family feel like they are the most important person in the room.
If your goal is to achieve more charisma in your life, take your cue from famous, charismatic leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. Make eye contact and listen first, the rest will follow. You are on your way to irresistible charisma.