Charisma is a valuable professional trait that can seem mysterious to those who don’t have a strong understanding of how it works. If you are looking to become more charismatic for an upcoming interview or if you are pursuing professional development, it can be helpful to know what techniques to use to build up your charisma. This article will discuss what elements contribute to a person’s charisma and 10 ways to develop those traits to become more charismatic.
What is charisma?
Charisma is a broad term, and there are a number of traits that help contribute to defining someone as charismatic. Three of the most common sources of a person’s charisma are their confidence, presence and amiability.
Confidence allows a charismatic person to accurately assess the areas they excel in and to convey that knowledge to others through body language and speech patterns. A confident person generates charisma by representing the best version of themselves to others.
Presence is the trait that allows a charismatic person to give someone else their complete attention and make them feel like they are being fully heard and understood. A present person’s charisma comes from ensuring that the people they talk with always feel important to the conversation.
Amiability is what enables someone to feel relatable and friendly. This trait naturally inspires others to trust them and enjoy being around them—which is how an amiable person generates their charisma.
10 steps for improving your charisma at work
Try these techniques to build confidence, presence and amiability in order to become more charismatic:
- Manage your nerves.
- Pace your speech.
- Talk about what you’re passionate about.
- Listen with intent.
- Practice eye contact.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Demonstrate a genuine interest.
- Remember little details.
- Keep things positive.
- Practice empathy.
1. Manage your nerves
The biggest obstacle for most people looking to develop their natural confidence is overcoming their nerves. Anxiety and nervousness are normal feelings when talking with people you aren’t familiar with, especially if you don’t do it often. To reduce the amount of anxiety you experience, you can try acting out your conversations in advance and become familiar with the process of talking to new people by conversing with people you encounter in your daily life.
2. Pace your speech
When you’re excited or nervous about something, it’s not uncommon for your speech patterns to fluctuate. Practicing the pacing of your speech by timing yourself and actively working to speak at a consistent rate can help you develop a more confident and controlled tone in your voice when speaking with others.
3. Talk about what you’re passionate about
When you’re speaking with someone you don’t know very well, the easiest way to help you build up confidence is to begin talking about things you’re passionate about. Doing this will help you detach from the situation you’re in and it will shift your attention away from the fact that you’re speaking with someone you’re unfamiliar with. Practicing this way will help you become used to speaking with new people and can help develop long-term confidence.
4. Listen with intent
When speaking with others, try to make a habit of listening to them with focus. Practicing active, intentional listening to your conversation partner will help reinforce that you value their time. Doing this will also naturally help you better understand your conversation partner’s perspective on the things they’re talking about.
5. Practice eye contact
Making eye contact while you’re having conversations demonstrates to your conversation partner that you’re invested in what they have to say and that they aren’t competing for your attention. If you find it challenging to maintain eye contact throughout longer conversations, it may be beneficial for you to practice by focusing your attention on another feature near your conversation partner’s eyes, such as their nose, glasses or eyebrows. People you speak with usually will not be able to tell the difference when you do this, so you may use this to achieve the same effect in conversations until you become more comfortable making direct eye contact.
6. Ask clarifying questions
When having a conversation with someone who is an expert in a topic, asking multiple questions to clarify what’s being communicated to you shows the person you’re talking to that you are actively involved in the conversation and that you’re working with them to help the conversation progress easily.
7. Demonstrate a genuine interest
Using body language, facial expressions and direct language to demonstrate excitement and interest in the topic you’re discussing helps your conversation partner feel more involved in your interaction. By practicing active listening and keeping yourself engaged, the person you are speaking with will usually feel more valued.
8. Remember little details
When you speak with other people, try and make a conscious effort to commit to memory the little details they share with you. Bringing these details up in later conversations will make the other person feel valued and heard and encourage them to be more open with you. Keeping these details in mind will help provide you with conversation starters with people in the future.
For example, if a coworker mentions to you that they are going to attend their niece’s birthday party over the weekend, a valuable conversation starter on Monday morning would be to ask them about the party and whether they enjoyed themselves.
9. Keep things positive
When conversing with others, try to keep things as positive as you can for the duration of your interaction with them. You will frame yourself as a positive and helpful individual to the people you talk with.
10. Practice empathy
When holding a conversation, keeping yourself aware of how your conversation partner is feeling and developing empathy with them will naturally drive you towards a more meaningful rapport. When you use your empathy to effectively gauge how your conversation partner is feeling about the development of the topic at hand, you can guide the conversation accordingly.