We all know charisma is important, but few of us know how to be charismatic. Many people think it’s something you’re born with and that it’s impossible to learn. While some people’s personalities may be more naturally charismatic, there are some simple tricks to increase your charisma quotient:
Be kind. People are drawn to those they believe have their best interest at heart. Offer constructive criticism. Always offer to help. To project kindness and warmth, try to think of a few things you like about the other person. Just thinking those thoughts will affect your body language in a positive way.
Stay focused and engaged. When you really pay attention to what someone has to say, they feel valued. If you let your thoughts wander, it will show up in your body language, even if it’s almost imperceptible.
Plan ahead. If you’re distracted, uncomfortable, or in a hurry, people can see it in your face. Wear comfortable clothing, account for travel time, and give everyone your full attention.
Be humble. Admit your mistakes and don’t be defensive. Shine the spotlight on others.
Love yourself. Have big goals that inspire you. Practice gratitude and self-compassion.
Olive Fox Cabane, author of “The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism”, writes that in order to project charisma, you must project 1) power, 2) presence, and 3) warmth. In terms of charisma, power means it appearing you have the ability to influence your environment. Presence means really being engaged in an interaction and not letting yourself get distracted by your own thoughts. Warmth means demonstrating compassion and genuine concern about the other person.
Cabane says it’s all about body language. Unfortunately we can’t control much of our body language, because our body displays our mental and emotional states beyond our conscious control. If you feel nervous, you will probably look nervous. If you get yourself into a good mental state, however, charismatic behavior and body language follows naturally.
Barriers to charisma include low self-esteem, negative self-talk, lack of empathy, lack of interest or desire to learn about the other person, any condition that would affect your ability to pay attention (like ADHD), and negative emotions like anger and anxiety. Before you can be more charismatic, you’ll need to address what’s holding you back.
Whether you’re a business leader, student, or a waitress looking for better tips, charisma is important. People look to charismatic leaders to guide and inspire them.
John Bradley Jackson
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