Charisma is not something we are born with, it’s a skill we can learn. While some people have a natural ability to be likable, all of us can practice certain traits to increase our charisma and seem more trustworthy and influential. In this article, we take a closer look at what makes us more or less charismatic, and how we can get people to like us better.
Most of us want to be charismatic, but not all succeed. However, even though most people want to be charismatic, few of us can put a finger on what exactly charisma is. Well, if we pick up a dictionary, we’ll notice charisma is defined as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in other people. Now, there’s no wonder most of us can’t figure out what charisma really is. Even its definition is somewhat difficult to comprehend. Are charismatic people necessarily attractive? Does charisma really inspire devotion in others?
Well, the quick answer is no. Charismatic people don’t need to be attractive. Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi was one of the most charismatic people of his generation, and he indeed inspired people, but he didn’t do it with the help of his looks. On the other hand, we can find plenty of charismatic people at Hollywood nowadays who are attractive but are involved in all sorts of scandals which certainly does not inspire devotion.
So if we don’t have to be attractive to be charismatic, and we don’t have to inspire devotion, what makes us charismatic? We have to delve deeper to understand this.
Despite the fact that most of us can’t define charisma and can’t put our fingers on it, all of us can point out which people have it. We can all agree that people like Madonna, David Beckham, George Clooney, and Mahatma Gandhi were or are charismatic. But what traits do these people share? Why do we find them charismatic? The answer is personal charisma.
Personal charisma is a combination of emotional and social skills. These skills allow individuals to affect others on an emotional level and influence them. But the fundamental skill most charismatic people share is communication. Charismatic people are strong communicators, and they create deep interpersonal connections even with people who do not know them personally. Let’s take a look at some of the skills that make us good communicators.
Emotional Control – Charismatic individuals can control and even regulate their emotional displays. This doesn’t mean they don’t get angry, sad, or tired like the rest of us. It means they can choose which emotions to show and which to hide. Simply put, charismatic people are good emotional actors. They only express the emotions they need to make a point, and they can turn on their charm when they need to.
Emotional Expressiveness – Just because charismatic people can control their emotions doesn’t mean they can’t express them well. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Charismatic people often express their emotions vigorously and genuinely. But here’s the catch – since they can control which emotions to show, charismatic people often express suitable feelings for every situation. We all know that person who can light up the room. Well, how do they do it? Do they yell or scream in frustration? No, they simply look genuinely pleased to be there. Since they’re so obviously pleased in our company, we can’t help but feel pleased ourselves. By expressing their emotions in a genuine manner, charismatic people encourage the rest of us to do the same, and they might even influence our emotions.
Emotional Sensitivity – Emotional sensitivity is the ability to detect the emotions of other people. Most charismatic people can tell when a person is angry, sad, happy, or jovial, so they can respond to the person’s feelings, creating an emotional connection. As the saying goes, a charismatic person will make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. Why? Because he or she figured out your mood and responded accordingly to it. It’s as simple as that.
Social Control – Social control is probably the most difficult skill a charismatic person could master. Social control is extremely important for charismatic leaders. This skill allows charismatic people to carry themselves in a balanced manner, as if they could fit well in every crowd. They could play golf with the President or share a beer with a hockey player and nobody would consider it twice. Social control allows a person to interact at an emotional level with many people, so it’s an important asset for those who want to increase their social connections.
Social Expressiveness – Social expressiveness is the ability to control your verbal and non-verbal communication skills when you interact with other people. Charismatic people are good conversationalists, and people describe them as interesting or entertaining. They can connect with other people at an emotional level, and they can put power behind their words. This skill is vital for charismatic leaders, as it’s one of the fundamental skills of a good public speaker.
Social Sensitivity – Social sensitivity is the skill of reading and interpreting social interactions and situations. Nobody would think you are charismatic if you’re cracking jokes during a crisis or a tragedy. Social sensitivity comes down to listening to others and being in tune with their emotions. Charismatic people are sensitive to their surroundings, and they are thoughtful towards their peers.
These six emotional and social skills are the building blocks of a charismatic person. However, charismatic individuals do not need to possess all of them to impress the people around them. Even if they’re present in a person, the skills have to be balanced. Social expressiveness without emotional sensitivity could lead to uncomfortable situations, and so on.
The good news is that every one of these skills can be honed with practice. True, some of us have a natural ability to detect the emotions of our peers, while others can make instant connections with people they’ve just met. But even if we’re not particularly good at any of the skills, we can still improve them to acceptable levels. We might never get to be as charismatic as a Hollywood actor, but we can surely make other people like us better. Here’s how.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, express, and manage your emotions, as well as relate to and engage the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is essential for the formation, maintenance, and development of personal relationships. All of us have emotional intelligence, but we can improve this ability to enhance our personal charisma. We can break down emotional intelligence into six basic components.
Self-Perception – Being aware and understanding our emotions is crucial if we want to improve our charisma and communication skills. One of the difficulties most of us have to overcome is the negative bias of our brains. Our brains are wired to remember negative things more often than positive ones, and that can affect our self-perception. A singular failure can transform into a life-changing event in our brains, and we risk changing our self-perception accordingly. Being aware of our emotions and feelings can help us overcome this difficulty. Sure, we might have failed at that particular task, but we still achieved a lot throughout our lives. Being aware of our emotions and reducing the frequency of our negative thoughts can do wonders for our charisma.
A great way of improving our self-perception is to perform an honest self-assessment. A simple way to do this is to write ten strengths on a piece of paper and ten weaknesses on the paper’s other side. As you can imagine, being brutally honest is crucial for a good self-assessment. After we’ve written our strengths and weaknesses, we can examine and compare them. Could we improve our weaknesses with a little work? If yes, what’s stopping us from doing so?
Self-Expression – Being in tune with our emotions is not enough if we want to become more charismatic. We also need to learn how to express what we’re feeling. However, letting our bosses know they’re getting on our nerves might not be wise, so we also need to learn how to control what we express.
One of the things most of us do is defining ourselves in a simple yet broad term. We tell ourselves we’re tired, boring, sad, calm, kind, happy, hateful, shy, modest, dumb, or hopeless, or something else. And the sad part is we base our lives according to our way of thinking, and that limits our experiences. But we’re more than that. We might feel tired, but maybe we’re tired because we spent the night looking over our child who was having a nightmare, which is actually an example of our protective side. We might be the boring salesperson at work, but friends and family know we’re fun when talking about our favorite football team. All of us are complex beings. We shouldn’t let a single term define us. We should define ourselves in multiple ways, and explore new ways of thinking based on our talents and skills.
Self-Control – Controlling our emotions might seem difficult, but it’s actually not. Most of us are already used to hide some of our feelings, we just need to learn which emotions to express and which to suppress. One of the easiest ways of achieving this is using the why and how mindset. We should always ask ourselves why we should express a certain feeling, and how doing so would help. Let’s say our boss is being annoying. Why would we lash out at him? Sure, we might blow off some steam, but would it be helpful? How would it help us? The why and how mindset helps us put things into perspective. And while using this mindset might seem difficult at first, we can quickly make a habit out of it with constant repetition. This mindset makes us pause briefly before we act or react, and that can change and improve the way we respond to those around us.
Interpersonal Connections – Like it or not, humans are social creatures. Our brains are wired to reward social interactions, and our ability to develop and maintain relationships is an important factor for our emotional intelligence. This is where self-confidence can be an asset. Reach out to the people you care for and talk to them once in a while. Meet new people. It doesn’t really matter how you interact with people, as long as you do it regularly. Communicating with others will improve our interpersonal connections skills.
Decision Making – As much as some of us might not like it, we tend to make decisions on an emotional, not logical, level. Our logical minds might bring out the pros and cons of making a decision, but it’s the emotional part of our brain that actually makes it. Now, we cannot stop our decision-making process from being controlled by emotions, but having a high emotional intelligence gives us the opportunity to face those emotions and regulate our decisions. The why and how mindset can help us use our emotions to make better decisions. Asking “why” before making a decision can help us put the problem into perspective, and asking “how” helps us determine the advantages of making it. However, you should keep in mind that “because I want to” or “because it will make me feel better” are valid answers to these questions.
Stress Management – Stress can have a harmful effect on our emotional intelligence, and it can influence our decision-making skills. People who have high emotional intelligence can determine when they’re affected by stress, and they can withhold from making bad decisions under poor circumstances. Something as simple as taking a five-minute break can significantly lower our stress levels and improve our decisions.
Charismatic people are great communicators. Some of them might not be the greatest public speakers, but they surely can transmit their messages in a clear manner. If you’re not interested in a career as a public speaker, your goal should be to convey your message clearly, so everyone around you will be able to understand it.
Body Language Matters – Scientists estimate that up non-verbal communication adds up to 70% of our communication skills, so it’s safe to say that body language matters. Controlling and improving our body language can change the way those around us perceive us.
Tell Stories – Stories have power. Just think about the stories of Hercules and Achilles. They have been around for thousands of years, and people still talk about them. Why? Because stories fascinate us. They activate our brains and affect us on emotional levels. Well, that’s exactly the type of communication you’re looking for. If you can captivate the audience’s attention and can influence them on an emotional level, you will win them over.
Maintain Eye Contact – Maintaining eye contact is important because it conveys we are paying attention to the other person. Even if you’re the one talking, you should still maintain eye contact. Stay focused on what you have to say, and once you get a conversational rhythm going you will be more comfortable with maintaining the eye contact.
Put Away The Distractions – Not paying attention to what the other person is saying will most likely be considered rude. Scrolling your social media page while someone is talking to you or watching TV conveys you’re not paying attention to the conversation.
Ask Questions – We shouldn’t ask questions only when we think we have misheard the other person. We should ask questions to let the speaker know we’re interested in what she or he has to say. Asking questions is also helpful for small talk and to fill in the awkward silences in a conversation. However, you shouldn’t ask generic questions, you should ask specific ones, related to what the person was telling you. Instead of asking how the weather is, try asking about their plans or passions. This will make their answers more interesting and engaging, possibly kicking off the conversation.
Use A Script For Small Talk – Let’s face it, we’re probably not going to engage in life-changing conversations on our first contact with someone. So it’s better to come prepared for small talk. There are several scripts you can use, but one of the most popular is the FORD. FORD is an acronym. It stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Now, you don’t have to ask about all of these things. Start small, ask about the person’s occupation and hobbies. If everything goes well, you won’t have to cover all the topics.
Get Rid Of Unwanted Conversation Fillers – Most of us tend to use unnecessary conversational fillers such as “ah’s” or “um’s”. These fillers might win us some precious seconds in our everyday conversations, but they’re certainly not doing us any favors. Start by keeping track of the fillers and gradually reduce their frequency. One way to avoid using these fillers is to take short pauses in your speech. The pauses should not be overly long because people might believe you don’t know what you’re talking about, but they should be long enough to allow you to collect your thoughts. Another way to avoid using conversation fillers is to make sure your hands are available for gesturing. Move your hands instead of using a conversation filler.
Shape The Message To The Audience – We should shape our message to the audience. We shouldn’t tell our grandmothers the same stories we tell our college buddies. At least, we shouldn’t tell all of them. The best communicators adjust how they talk and what they speak about based on whom they’re communicating with. We should always try to take notice of the other person’s perspective when we want to get our message across.
Keep It Brief – All of us like stories, but none of us enjoy listening to nonsense. Even if you shape your message as a story, keep it brief. Your main objective is to get the message across. If you can do it clearly in 20 words, you shouldn’t use 100. Conveying long messages might be boring, and you risk losing your audience along the way. Some of the leading communicators use the 7C checklist to transmit their messages. According to this checklist, your message should always be:
Listen Empathically – Communication is a team sport. You should always pay attention to what other people tell you without interrupting, and you should use your empathy to let people know you’re on the same page. If you do this, the people around you will be more likely to pay attention when it’s your turn to speak.
Fortunately, every one of us can learn how to be more charismatic. But with the help of hypnosis, we can condition ourselves to be more perceptive of our emotional intelligence and feelings. With the help of my Be More Charismatic hypnosis session, you will experience a boost in your self-confidence, discover ways to be relaxed in stressful situations, and boost your natural charisma by activating your subconscious mind.