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

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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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