Photo credit: Richard Young, Rex Features
by Alicia Ventresca, MA in Developmental Psychology, Columbia University
In Greek, charisma refers to a divine gift. However, recent research has revealed that charisma, much like social etiquette, can be learnt. Follow our Top 10 Tips for Becoming a More Charismatic Person to enhance your social skills, likability, and charm.
1. Relax and have fun. It goes without saying that people who enjoy living in the moment are pleasant people to be around. Because they have an easy-going attitude, naturally you feel comfortable in their presence and let yourself go. Likewise, negative qualities such as rudeness, ill temperament, obstinacy, or criticalness are just as contagious. For example, someone who is constantly complaining at dinner might make you feel equally displeased. The takeaway message is, charismatic people are flexible and adaptable, accepting new experiences as they come. Allow yourself to relax and have fun by being open to change and deviate from the norm…so what if your plans change? Enjoy your surroundings and your company regardless.
2. Look and act confident. Charismatic people tend to be optimists, possessing an unshakeable belief in their ability to rise above any circumstance. This exudes a sense of calm, composure, and self-assurance. In order to demonstrate confident body language, you must feel confident. Prepare yourself mentally by reflecting on your character strengths and practicing gratitude for the many blessings in your life.
3. Read often. Without question, reading enhances the mind and the persona. Hence, it comes as no surprise that charismatic people tend to be well-read, with eclectic knowledge for carrying interesting conversations.
4. Think before you speak. Charisma is not necessarily about being the center of attention; in fact, sometimes less is more. Whether joking around with friends or meeting with high-profile clients, talking should serve a purpose. Verbal communication can take on many styles (for example, authoritative/assertive, motivational, humorous, flirtatious), but in any case diction or “the choice and use of words and phrases” is essential. Hence, it is not only what you say but how you say it (including vocal tonality and body language) that affects others’ reactions.
5. Treat people as you want to be treated. This golden rule is characteristic of people who are well-received by others and regarded kindly. Because they make others feel appreciated, important, and respected, charismatic people are the first to receive social graces (for example, the cooperation of fellow employees, a generous gift or welcoming invitation). In fact, three decades of research have converged on the finding that workplace friendliness generally improves job satisfaction, productivity, and morale, while decreasing stress and turnover.
6. Maintain a positive, approachable attitude. People who have a proactive outlook; who are optimistic and able to bring strong advice and hopeful solutions to the table, are the people we as human beings need in our lives. According to recent study conducted by University of Michigan graduate psychology student Eric Kim, a sunny perspective may lead people to engage in healthier behaviors, such as having an active social life and taking medicine as directed from a physician. From e-mail correspondence to phone calls, always end on an even, upbeat note.
7. Show genuine concern and empathy. Charismatic people show an active, sincere interest in the lives of others by listening deeply, remembering important details like birthdays and interests, and asking about casual, not controversial topics (for example, hobbies and recent milestones as opposed to business or romantic relationships). When meeting someone for the first time, TRY to remember the person’s name. Do this by repeating the person’s name right away (for example, “Hi [John], nice to meet you!”). Then, repeat the person’s name throughout your conversation until it sticks, adding polite warmth to the conversation at hand.
8. Do not be afraid to give compliments. When they are appropriate, deserving, and authentic, compliments show that you are secure in yourself, observant of others, and friendly. (I’ve never met a woman who didn’t appreciate a man for noticing her new haircut).
9. Allow yourself to try new things, and be impressed. No matter whom you are learning from—a child, a friend, a partner, a grandparent—put yourself on the same level as your teacher and appreciate the lesson. Be open-minded, experiment, and seize the discovery process.
10. Get your energy up! Enthusiasm and passion are two powerful traits of chatismatic people.
Wherever you get your energy from (coffee, exercise, morning prayer, or practicing gratitude), make sure that it is proportionately channeled into all aspects of your personal and professional
life. Socializing, above all, requires an element of animation and zing.