Let’s break down the components of charisma, as there are many misconceptions about what charisma actually is. People often find it difficult to describe. I’ve been on multiple podcasts, and I always ask, “What do you think charisma is?” They mention lots of components of charisma such as confidence, humor, and good conversational skills. However, there are many different components of charisma, and here we will break each of them down:
Creating a good first impression is imperative when it comes to enhancing your charisma and building relationships with others. Humans are great lie detectors, and we can tell when something fishy is going on. Here is how you can improve your first impression:
Be Conscious About What You Wear
Adopt the ‘Chameleon Effect.’ This is where, like a chameleon, you adapt your appearance to fit your surroundings. For example, a tailored suit and flashy watch may be fitting for a job interview at a bank, but at a BBQ with friends, it will come across as arrogant. This is one of the biggest components of charisma.
Our bodies communicate with others before we even open our mouths. In most cases, we don’t even realize that our body language can decrease our charisma. Slouching, staring at your phone, and avoiding eye contact all portray a negative image to the person you are speaking to. You can give the other person the impression that you are bored, disinterested, sad, disgusted, or unimpressed, even if you don’t feel that way. The best way to have positive and charismatic body language is to:
- Give others a genuine smile.
- Stand up tall with shoulders back and chin level.
- Make eye contact with others.
- Use hand gestures.
- Mirror the other person.
Starting the Conversation
Initiating a conversation is the part people struggle with the most. The most common issue is that people build up the moment in their heads so much that it becomes overwhelming, and their fear of rejection cripples the moment. It doesn’t need to be that way. The easier way to start a conversation is by:
Using your environment
Look around your environment and find things that you can use to spark the conversation. Look out for words, colors, images, photos on the wall, music playing in the background, sculptures, furniture, or anything you can see, hear, or smell.
For example, if you want to start a conversation with a barista in your local coffee shop and you see under the menu that they use “Italian Roasted Beans” for your coffee, you could use this to say, “Wow, Italian roasted beans? Have you ever been to Italy? I bet it’s amazing!”
This will open up the dialogue between you both, and from there, you can talk about Italy, Rome, pizza, pasta, the history of coffee, coffee culture in Italy, etc.
Keeping the Conversation Going
One of the main components of charisma in conversations is the skill of keeping them going. You may come across some awkward silences, and your ability to keep the conversation going in an engaging way will enhance your charisma. One technique you can use to keep conversations going is using the phrase:
“This reminds me of…”
Let’s go back to our coffee shop example. You are in discussion with the barista about their trip to Italy, and they tell you that they had an amazing time, they ate pizza and pasta the whole time, and then BOOM, silence. What do you say next? Well, if you are in a jam, you can use the phrase “This reminds me of…” and then begin your story. For example:
Barista: “I loved traveling to Italy, I ate pizza and pasta the whole time!”
You: “You know, that reminds me of a time I went to this incredible pizza restaurant in town…”
This helps smoothly transition the conversation onto another topic or discussion.
You can also ‘Spread Ammunation’ Watch my tiktok video on this technique:
Getting Them to Open Up
People do not remember the words you say; they remember how you made them feel. By getting the other person to open up about their passions, interests, and opinions, you will start to release chemicals in the other person’s brain, such as dopamine. Which we love! You can get them to open up by using a technique called:
These are questions that start with:
These are great for getting the other person to open up because they require more detail than a one-word response. For example:
“How do you find living in the city?”
“Why did you move here?”
“What do you do outside of work?”
You will get the person talking about themselves, which they will love, and release those warm chemicals in the brain, starting to feel a deeper connection with you.
A key element in becoming more charismatic is being able to actively listen to the other person in a conversation. This is not just smiling and nodding, but taking a genuine interest in what the other person is saying. When someone is speaking to you and talking about their trip to Italy, do not just say, “Wow, that’s great,” or “Aww, that sounds awesome.” Listen to the words and emotions behind them. Some examples could be:
“I love traveling” = Passion/Love
“Playing football is so much fun” = Pleasure/enjoyment
“I am dreading this meeting” = Fear/anxiety
Follow up with them with open questions about their feelings behind the words. For example:
“I love Traveling” = “What is it about it you love so much?”
“Playing football is so much fun” = “How did you get involved in playing football?”
“I am dreading this meeting” = “Why do you think you are so anxious?”
One of the main components of charisma is storytelling; they are an incredible tool to boost your communication with others. People make a lot of mistakes when it comes to storytelling. Here are a few to keep you on the right track:
Saying the Ending Before the Story
So many people say, “Did I tell you about the time when I met the president!” People then say, “No? What happened?” You then just respond, “Well, I met the president.”
It has sucked all the momentum from the story; you haven’t built any emotion, and ultimately it falls short. A comedian would never give you the punchline before they tell the joke.
Adding Too Much Fluff
When telling a story, it’s important to only include the points that matter. For example:
- If it took place on a Tuesday and it’s not important in the story, leave it out.
- If it is snowing in your story and that is crucial to know, then keep it in.
- Is there a character in your story that needs to be mentioned? If so, then do!
Once you know your story, edit, edit, edit to make it impactful and remove all the fluff.
1-Upping Others in Stories
You are in a situation where someone has just told you a story, and it’s our instinct to go, “Oh, well if you liked that, then I have a better one…”
I know that you are just excited to tell your story, and it may be better. However, by leading with this as an opener to your story, it will make you come across as someone who needs attention at all times.
How to Tell Better Stories
To tell better stories, adopt this process to make them as impactful as possible:
Start your stories with a hook that grabs someone’s attention and makes them interested to learn more. You can use some of these phrases:
- “Imagine this…”
- “I’ll never forget the time when…”
- “You won’t believe what happened next…”
- “Have you ever found yourself in a situation where…”
The 3-Act Structure
Use the 3-act structure to formulate your stories. The structure is as follows:
- The Set-Up
- The Challenge
- The Resolution
It will give your story a much better structure and keep you on track instead of getting off track and beginning to talk about something else before you have even finished!
Incorporate Hand Gestures
Telling a story isn’t just about using your words; your whole body is involved. Your body conveys the power and emotion behind the words and emphasizes the words you are saying. Use hand gestures throughout your story to communicate your story more effectively.
If you ask people to describe what charisma is, most people describe it as confidence. Confidence comes down to a handful of qualities:
- Your belief in yourself
- Displaying that belief in a way that is comfortable and not arrogant
Confidence comes with competence
The better you become at something, the more confident you are at it. So, if you want to increase your confidence, you need to improve your skills in communicating with others.
In conclusion, charisma is a multifaceted quality that encompasses various elements, each playing a crucial role in making a lasting impression and building meaningful connections with others. We’ve explored the key components that contribute to charisma, including:
- First Impressions: Being mindful of your appearance and body language can significantly impact how others perceive you from the start.
- Conversations: Initiating and sustaining conversations effectively involves utilizing your environment, asking open questions, and active listening to make others feel valued and engaged.
- Storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful tool for communication, but it requires careful crafting to maintain intrigue and impact.
- Confidence: Confidence, while often equated with charisma, is a result of competence and can be nurtured by gradually challenging oneself in various situations.
By mastering these components, you can enhance your charisma and make a lasting positive impression on those you interact with. Remember, charisma isn’t about being the center of attention; it’s about creating meaningful connections and leaving others with a sense of positivity and engagement. So, embrace these components, practice them in your daily interactions, and watch as your charisma flourishes, enriching your personal and professional relationships.