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Charisma Isn’t About Appearance. It’s About How You Communicate With Others

Charisma Isn’t About Appearance. It’s About How You Communicate With Others

You don’t have to be a Kardashian to have allure. Money, designer clothes, good looks and your own reality TV show won’t automatically give you personal appeal. The key to charisma lies way beneath the sparkly sequins and materialistic trappings. It’s actually all about how you communicate with other people. And the really good news? A study by Professor Kenneth Levine at the University of Tennessee found that the characteristics of charismatic people included: empathy, good listening skills, eye contact, enthusiasm, and self-confidence[1]. Those traits are not wrapped up in your genes- they can be learned!

Here are a few tips on building your communication skills to help pave the way to acquiring a more charismatic personality.

Learn to query, not interrogate

“Hey, where did you get that shirt? And those shoes? Where did you buy that skirt?” Has anyone ever shot questions at you like they were unloading a machine gun? Did it make you feel like ducking and diving for cover? Sure, all good conversations start with a question, but a deluge of multiple queries turns a good talk into an FBI interrogation, and you’ll have your subject running for the hills.

Instead of the cross-examination, pepper your chat with statements between those curious inquiries. Then, your barrage of questions becomes a conversation. “Hey, nice shirt. The color matches you eyes. Where did you find it? Awesome. I’ve never shopped there myself. Those shoes look comfortable. Those heels look 3 inches. I’d probably fall flat on my face if I wore them! Are they easy to walk in? I saw a pair like those at the mall.”

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Concentrate your efforts on having a discussion, not an interview.

Be brutally honest

Think about the charismatic people you know and admire. Do they act worried about offending people? Though they wouldn’t be cruel, charismatic people tend to be open and shockingly honest. They talk to others as if they were hanging out with their best buds. They don’t let being politically correct rule their lives. Ironically, this draws more people to them, as they say things other people wish they could.

Engaging in genuine honesty will initially feel awkward. It takes practice. Be sure to inject a light-hearted humor into your conversation. Learn to laugh at yourself and your own faults. Being honest means seeing yourself in a true light too- your faults and shortcomings along with your talents and specialties.

Not everyone will appreciate brutal honesty, and charismatic people can make enemies in the PC crowd. Be aware of this ahead of time. However, by practising genuine honesty, you may find more people seeking you out for your advice and opinions. Wouldn’t you like to know whether that new dress really looked good on you rather than hearing the “you look fine” pitch of a saleslady?

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Honesty really IS the best policy.

Show your vulnerabilities

You tend to shy away from the things that make you feel weak and ashamed, like the time you inhaled the carton of Rocky Road ice cream after you saw your boyfriend talking to his ex, or when you hung out with your friends, drank way too much beer and dialed that girl you liked in high school. Yeah. Totally not cool.

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerabilities by telling an embarrassing story about yourself. By owning up to one, you descend from that pedestal and seem more approachable, relatable and human.

Vulnerability researcher, speaker and writer Brené Brown said: “Vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, love, belonging, creativity and faith.”

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Embrace your vulnerabilities and share those stories to help you to connect with others.

Make others feel special

You know when you’ve met a charismatic person because you come away from a conversation feeling special. People love to be around these individuals because they make others feel special. Raise your emotional intelligence levels, also known as EQ (emotional quotient), by making others feel important.

See a person you’ve met before? Greet them like an old friend. Smile and be genuine. Don’t just listen to them, but make eye contact. Be interested in what they are saying and stay fully engaged in the conversation. Use non-verbal cues like voice pitch, facial expressions to help you read how they are feeling about the subject[2].

Remember the little details in the conversation. Did she say she liked John Mayer’s music? Play a Mayer song later on. Did he mention the Pittsburgh Steelers? Slide it into the conversation later. Showing you were paying attention to them by remembering those little details make people feel appreciated and special.

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Make your conversations a celebration of “them,” not you.

Charisma is learned, not bought. Don’t fret over your lack of chinos and loafers or emerald-studded stilettoes; communication skills are the path to raising your charisma levels. Practice spacing your questions with statements, showing genuine honesty, becoming more human by daring to reveal your vulnerabilities and raising that EQ by making others feel special. Engagement doesn’t always need a ring; be more charismatic by becoming an engaging conversationalist.

Featured photo credit: GLady via pixabay.com

Reference

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Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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