There’s no question that charismatic people are some of the most successful individuals out there. Professor Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK estimates charisma is 50% innate and 50% trained. The key ingredients of charisma are simple actions that, with practice, become a part of your personality and improve your interactions with everyone around you, increasing your overall satisfaction with life. Here are 7 qualities of charismatic people that you can incorporate into your life.
1. Listen Actively
When you listen, give them your undivided attention and ask questions. Do NOT check your phone more than once in a conversation – better yet, don’t check it at all! A study by the University of Colorado found that active listening helps avoid misunderstandings and opens people up to get them to say more. Actively listening will improve communication with those around you, whether you’re working with them or living with them. People tend to remember good listeners as positive people.
2. Speak Clearly
Take your time and think about each sentence. The more you speak with unnecessary filler, the less clear you are. Especially when speaking to more than one person at once, or to a new group of people, practice your approach beforehand. Am I saying everything I need to say? Is everything I’m saying necessary? Is there a clear objective and purpose to what I am saying?
3. Smile from Within
A genuine smile from within shows on the outside: you smile with your eyes and mouth, and it’s called the Duchenne smile. Not to say you have to walk around with a grin all the time! But when you smile on the inside, people are more receptive when you approach them. Psychologists at the University of California at Berkley studied 141 high school senior-class photos from the 1960 yearbook of Mills College, and followed up with the same people at age 27, 43 and 52. The women with a Duchenne smile were more likely to be married and stay married than those who had a fake smile, and were more likely to experience greater sense of personal well-being. These results were found to be consistent in a 30-year follow up. Also, appearance had no correlation with life satisfaction; it all came from within. When you smile from the heart and follow up with a kind personality, you will get more and give more to the world than you ever thought possible.
4. Stand Up Tall
Imagine there’s a string running from your navel, through your head and up into the ceiling. It’s an old dancer’s trick, and works for the rest of us to maintain great posture throughout the day. Good posture makes you appear secure and confident; if you’re not feeling that confident today, fake it until you make it! Remember to keep your shoulders down.
5. Spread Praise & Phrase
Ever hear “it’s not what you say, but how you say it?” If you have to critique someone, before you do, think of how you would want to be critiqued. Be direct and address the problem at hand, propose a solution, get feedback and establish a timeframe. At the same time, give credit & compliments where they are due. Make others feel important when they deserve it by complimenting a completed project, or a presentation that went well. Building confidence in yourself is important, but being able to build confidence in others – that’s charisma.
6. Remember Names
A legendarily successful writer known as “Mr. Charisma” himself, Dale Carnegie, once said that “a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It’s simple but effective. When you first learn someone’s name, repeat it back to them by saying “Hi Amanda” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you Amanda.” Also use their name when you end the conversation, it’ll help immensely. You can also visualize the person’s name on their forehead, or associate that person’s name with a facial feature, like “Joe’s Eyebrows.” If all else fails, after meeting someone new, type their name into your phone with a short descriptive word.
7. Eye Contact
Make eye contact while a person is talking to you, and while you are speaking to them. Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of communication – it allows you to really see if your message is getting through. It keeps the other person focused on you, and keeps you focused on their words and meaning. If you’re making a presentation or speech, make eye contact once with as many people in the room as possible. It will make the whole event feel much more personal to your audience.
Want to practice your communication? Comment, or talk to Jennifer on Twitter @therealJenCohen and on Facebook at http://Facebook.com/theRealJenniferCohen.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.