What makes someone influential? One of the most common responses we hear is charisma—being able to connect, charm, and win over others with one’s personality. The thing is, charisma is not something you’re born with. It’s something you learn. If you want to be the person everyone wants more of, the following lessons will help you impress anyone:
Lesson 1: Hope
Optimists outperform pessimists in political elections, sales, and social connections, because hope tends to attract other people and is, quite simply, attractive. It’s not that they don’t have dark days. Charismatic people just don’t advertise them. Instead, they emulate hope by:
• Speaking optimistically about the future
• Sharing believable steps to attain that future
• Expressing confidence in the ability of others to take those steps
Lesson 2: Passion
When you’re passionate, people are drawn to you. It’s hard to fake passion. Whether they’re passionate about saving the planet, rising to the top of an organization, the latest fashion, freshwater fishing, or fine art, charismatic people talk about subjects they care about. Even if you’re not interested in the thing they are passionate about, you’re drawn to that person because they exude passion. Charismatic people express their passion by:
• Articulating a strong, informed point of view
• Speaking with energy and vigor
• Demonstrating single-mindedness and focus in what they want to achieve
Lesson 3: Connection
It’s apparent that you’ve made a strong connection with someone when you gesture or move, and they do, too. Charismatic people connect in this way deliberately. If you want to see charisma in action, pay attention to the most charismatic person in the room and you’ll see that they are matching the behavior of those around them. It’s a fantastic feeling when it happens naturally. Usually, however, it doesn’t happen without a nudge. And you can give it a nudge by matching the other person in some of the following ways:
• Speak at the same volume, pace, tempo, and rhythm
• Reflect or mirror similar body language, like crossing your legs
• Share similar beliefs and values
• Make statements or offer views that the other person is sure to agree with
Charisma is a great tool of influence. The most charismatic people have been taught or have trained themselves in the seemingly find art of being charming. If you want to learn to influence others, it’s important that you practice and become aware of these tactics. Practice, practice, practice. Charisma can be learned.
Give Your Mind a Workout: Introduce Yourself With Impact
A moment many people dread is when they’re asked to introduce themselves, particularly in front of others. But it is a great opportunity to demonstrate your charisma.
1. Assess how you currently introduce yourself to new people. What is your approach? Are you as impactful as you’d like to be? How do people react to your introduction? Do they ask questions to learn more about you, or nod and change the subject?
2. Write a couple of practice introductions on a piece of paper, and on each, include one or more of the tactics above.
3. Plan the way you will introduce yourself. How will you find congruence with another person? How will you sound? What will your body language look like?
4. Try it out. Test your new introductions the next time you are at a networking function or a party. Which introduction worked best, and how will you remember to keep using it?
About the Authors:
Sebastian Bailey, Ph.D., is cofounder and president of Mind Gym, Inc. More than 50 percent of the companies in the S&P 100 have adopted Mind Gym, Inc.’s programs, which run in forty countries around the world. Bailey lives in New York City.
Octavius Black is cofounder and CEO of Mind Gym, Inc. He has contributed to and been featured in The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, and The Financial Times. He lives in London.
Excerpted from the book Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently, by Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black.