This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Charisma is usually thought of as an inherent trait or characteristic, yet the truth is that it’s perhaps equally a skill, or rather a set of skills that can be learned, improved upon and deployed in interpersonal traits. You become more charismatic and improve the way others respond to you by paying attention to a combination of body language, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
The key word here is “genuine.” If you can develop an authentic interest in other people and demonstrate that interest by asking questions and being curious about the answers, your charisma increases. People like people who like them in return.
Part of cultivating this skill is the act of radical listening. While the other person is speaking, really listen to what they’re saying. Don’t attempt to formulate your response while someone else is talking. Good luck. It isn’t easy and it’s not what we’re trained by life to do.
Use stories and anecdotes that build a sense of team, like an army on the march or a sports team taking the field, to help build cohesion in your group. This, then, translates into you being seen as the fearless leader. The classic example of this is Henry V’s famous “St. Crispin’s Day” speech in Shakespeare’s play.
However, be inclusive. Don’t talk about “men” or “brothers” when you have women and non-binary people in the room. If you want to be a more charismatic leader, then you need to build an effective team, and effective teams must embrace all of their members.
Meeting someone’s eyes builds rapport and likability but too much of a good thing here can backfire. Staring deeply into someone’s eyes without blinking can feel creepy and invasive to the other person.
Instead, try maintaining eye contact for a few seconds in a one-on-one conversation before breaking contact and looking elsewhere (e.g., at your notes or out the window).
So much of personal charisma boils down to body language. The old rule about mirroring the posture of someone with whom you’re trying to establish rapport certainly applies. And in most public situations you’ll want to avoid looking as if you’re trying to hide by crossing your arms, shrinking into a corner, or otherwise closing off your physical self.
It’s important to eliminate the fidgeting habit. Fidgeting behaviors communicate one thing only: “I don’t want to be here.” Use deliberate movements. Resist the urge to touch your face, scratch or swallow too often.
Finally, practice taking up your physical space with confidence. Don’t shrink or avoid contact — stand tall with good posture and feet apart. Gesture when appropriate, but do it conservatively, not wildly.
In a sense, demonstrating warmth and goodwill all goes back to embracing the manners we learned in kindergarten.
For example, if you bump into someone, say you’re sorry — but do it with authentic warmth. That means making positive eye contact and actually feeling apologetic. It’s not necessary to grovel, and in fact, that would be self-defeating for someone seeking to develop personal charisma. But the genuineness of the underlying feeling helps you demonstrate it effectively without coming across too intensely and thus repelling the person with whom you’re trying to establish rapport.
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