Charisma is like a magic ingredient that makes people want to pay more attention to you. Charisma is a compelling form of charm and you don’t have to be a flaming extrovert to have charisma in your communication toolbox.
Some people are born with that sparkle, but anyone can learn to be more charismatic, even the most introverted. I learned charisma from my grandmother, who, even at age 95, is never without a gentleman caller. She has enjoyed quite the collection of marriage proposals and an enviable social life through the years!
People considered charismatic almost always enjoy more economic and romantic success. Charisma is tricky because it makes you a more compelling communicator, not necessarily a person of integrity, or even competent. This is why some people are suspicious of becoming more charismatic, but charisma is something you can turn off and on, and use to make your world a better place.
Broken down, charisma is made up of 3 elements: presence, warmth and power.
You may have grown up with that powerful charm called charisma. (If so, stop reading now.) The good news is that anyone can become more charismatic (I’ve done it myself and helped many introverted clients do so!) with a few changes in how you think and present yourself.
Here are 21 things you can do to raise your charisma level from where you are right now. If you keep at it, you will definitely become a more effective and influential person. You might even become president!
1. Stay relaxed. Stress and charisma are mutually-exclusive properties. This is the most important item on this list. You must learn to be relaxed, even when your flight is late, the traffic is stopped and you’re over budget.
2. Stand up straight and tall.
3. Make extensive eye contact.
4. Dress well, but be comfortable.
5. Pause before answering a question. (A pause is powerful. It means you are comfortable with silence.)
6. Act like you’re having a good time. If you do this, you actually will have a better time.
7. Prepare yourself to be warm and powerful….before that important dinner or meeting.
8. Use “yes, and” statements in conversation. Simply agree and add to the other person’s statement.
9. Be observant and completely present. Notice everything going on around you.
10. Learn how to handle minor physical discomfort like heat and humidity. It’s inevitable and normally derails people. Learn to manage different types of discomfort.
11. Practice starting conversations with strangers. This is a good way to distract yourself whenever you have to wait in line.
12. Hold the door open for others. (Charismatic folks practice a high level of civility.)
13. Visualize your desired outcomes (the best ones possible!) before the meeting or interview.
14. Load confidence-boosting music onto your phone or iPod.
15. Notice the body language of people you admire. See how they stand, where they place their hands.
16. Stand closer to people. You can inch toward them and see what happens.
17. Constantly express appreciation to others. (Before meeting someone, review what you really admire about him or her, even if you find that person annoying.)
18. Get in the mental state of wishing others well. (That focus takes pressure off of you!)
19. Be compassionate with yourself when you make mistakes. Learn the lesson and move on. This practice helps you be more responsible and more compelling to be around.
20. Recall a pleasant memory, a situation where you had so much fun or things went really well for you.
21. Bring to mind the most charismatic person you know. Now imagine that you’re the most charismatic person you know!
Incorporating charisma is a great way to have more impact on your community. Experiment with some of these tips and you’ll see.