What is it about some people that just seems to appeal to others? They’re instantly likeable from the first time you meet them and hear them speak. They exude self confidence in the way they hold themselves and make you want to listen to what they say.
President Bill Clinton has it. When he spoke to people, they felt that he was talking directly to them even if he was addressing a crowd of thousands of people. Oprah Winfrey has it. When her long-running talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, was on television, she talked to guests as if she knew each one personally. Whether they were celebrities or ordinary people, it seemed like everybody warmed up to Oprah and told her their deepest secrets. She is considered one of the most influential women on television. She not only has a gift for speaking, but she is a good listener.
One of the most iconic personalities of all time, who is just as famous now as when she was alive, is Marilyn Monroe. She definitely had that appeal. Monroe, who was named Norma Jean Baker before she became an actress, conducted her own study to prove a point. She accompanied a photographer on the train one day on the way to a photo shoot in New York City. But, she was just plain Norma Jean—she didn’t flash her famous smile or engage in small talk as she boarded the train. As she rode the train to her destination, she surprisingly didn’t catch anybody’s attention. However, when she exited the train with the photographer, Baker metamorphosed into Monroe, smiling at passersby, talking animatedly and carrying herself with all the confidence in the world. People immediately knew who she was—they couldn’t miss her. The photographer was amazed by the fact that Monroe could be ordinary and just another person in the crowd as Norma Jean Baker one minute and Marilyn Monroe, the famous actress and sex symbol, the next. Monroe had a winning smile and an aura of self-confidence in the way she carried herself.
These people have charisma. They share charm, magnetism and appeal and are able to win people over. Business leaders who have charisma are able to take command of a meeting room, strike up a relationship with others and inspire the people around them. You probably know a few people who you encounter every day who have charisma. There may be somebody at school who is always surrounded by a group of people. He’s animated when he tells stories and shares jokes. He listens to what others around him have to say. When he says hello, he uses eye contact and holds himself confidently.
Is charisma something people are born with, or can it be learned? According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “charisma is a learnable set of skills that have been practiced since antiquity.” Charisma is used to persuade other people by using powerful and reasoned rhetoric, establishing personal and moral credibility to stir followers’ emotions and passions. When an individual can do those things well, he is able to tap into the hopes and ideals of followers, giving them a sense of purpose and the inspiration to achieve great things. (http://amle.aom.org/content/10/3/374)
The following are some tips to help you achieve charisma in your everyday life.
Other people will find you more likeable is you’re optimistic, comfortable with who you are and like yourself.
2) Be a Good Storyteller
People like to hear stories, especially when they’re seasoned with a little humor. Others will find you easy to be around. (Make sure the stories you tell are appropriate.)
It’s important to know what’s going on in the world and to be able to talk about a variety of subjects. People tend to want to be around others who are knowledgeable.
When you speak, it’s important to use statement like “I am certain” rather than using expressions, such as “I think,” which make you seem like you’re unsure of yourself.
3) Body Language
People who are easy to approach have a warm smile and make eye contact. When they introduce themselves to others, they do it confidently, using their full name.
4) Own the Room
Taking control of the room is more than just a firm handshake and a smile. In fact, it you want to own the room at a social gathering or a business meeting, try to find out who you’re going to meet and what some of their interests are.
Make sure you’re dressed well to make a great first impression. The clothes should be appropriate for the occasion and always clean. You can add some of your personality to the outfit, such as a scarf or a pin.
Put the phone away and focus your attention on the people you’re meeting with. Cell phones are distracting and send the message that you’re not really interested in the people around you. In fact, Pew Research Center conducted a study of about 3,000 adults in the country and found that nearly 70 percent of them check their phones for messages even though they didn’t heard a ring or vibration. According to the study, people find cell phones distracting when they’re used in social and business situations. However, many of these same individuals admitted to using their cell phones during group meetings.
Don’t be a complainer, criticize other people or look for problems. In fact, Stephen Hawking, an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, said it best: “People won’t have time for you if you’re always angry or complaining.” Look for solutions and try to give positive viewpoints and input. People would rather work or socialize with somebody who shows optimism.
5) Gear the Conversation to Others
Part of the reason why people like being around others who have charisma is that they don’t make everything about themselves. When they talk to other people, it’s like that individual is the only one in the room. People find they enjoy being around others who are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Listen to other people by paying attention to them and engaging in the conversation. If you’re at a social event or a business meeting, don’t look around the room searching for other, more important people to talk to. (Checking the cell phone while you’re in a conversation with another person is also distracting and shows you’re really not paying attention to him.)
6) Gestures and Voice Quality
Make sure you use the appropriate gestures when you’re telling stories. The emotion of what you’re saying should show in your eyes and face. If you’ve ever listened to somebody who had a monotone voice, you probably didn’t wait to hear the rest of what he said. It’s not a good way to get anybody’s attention and doesn’t “shout” charisma. Make sure your voice is animated, and you use a variety of volumes and tones to get your message across.