In the workplace, networking events, and birthday parties – there is usually that one person that just seems to stick out. They have some sort of “it factor” that draws you to them. They’re not the richest or most physically attractive, but they are simply captivating.
What is this quality? It’s the je ne sais quois of: charisma. This is the actual way people move ahead in life because it’s more than simply who you know – it’s who knows you and likes you.
Tip #1: Finding a Role Model
One of the first steps you can perform and practice by yourself is to find a role model that represents the type of charismatic presence you want. Asking what your role model would do in that particular social situation diverts your attention from the situation at hand.
Indeed, it’s true that when you are too invested or focused on a situation, you can’t think about it clearly. We know this from all walks of life. Following our own dating and relationship advice is often difficult for that very reason. It seems smart to others, but it seems like it just doesn’t apply to our situations because of tiny issues A, B, and C. However, when you divert your attention from yourself and onto your role model, you can more easily act in a way that you are otherwise scared to.
Finding a role model also allows you to understand what you want to be like, for example Robert Downey Jr. and Ellen DeGeneres are popular role models people aspire to. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and has a different conception of how they want to be perceived. Not everyone fits the extrovert ideal of magnetic charisma, and that’s even better that you find someone who fits you to a tee.
Finding a role model to wearing a mask on Halloween, in the sense that it is empowering to play a role outside of yourself. There’s a reason that Halloween is associated with pranks, riots, and crime — because people relish the fact that they are in different roles and can do things they’ve always wanted to without consequence.
Tip #2: Be a Role Model
Second, become a role model yourself and someone people can aspire to. Just like we want to be around those who are successful in business, we innately want to surround ourselves with charismatic people. We surround ourselves with people we want to be like and want to impress, so a key method to becoming more charismatic is to simply become someone people can look up to.
One specific trait to embody is unflappability, which I define as the quality of being comfortable with that which is uncomfortable. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable and awkward parts of life is the understanding that not much good happens inside your comfort zone, and there are always proverbial vegetables we must eat in the meal of life.
When you are unflappable, you are inspiring, you give others a window into hope, and you lift the moods of people around you. If there’s an uncomfortable or tense situation, unflappable people make it seem like everything will be okay no matter what. In essence, charismatic people appear bulletproof, and this has a very settling and attractive effect on the people they are with. You make others feel at ease, comfortable, and want to open up.
Tip #3: Empathy
Third, develop empathy and understanding of people’s emotional states so you can innately understand them better.
Famous author George Orwell should always be invoked on lessons on empathy.
Orwell spent roughly a year living in the poor areas of London and Paris, performing manual labor in kitchens for income, and immersing himself with the purpose of learning from his experiences. He dressed and lived the part, and recorded his learnings in a subsequent book called Down and Out in Paris and London. Orwell originally went in with the intent of exploring why people were poor, destitute, or homeless, and he quickly realized that it wasn’t because they were all drunk or lazy. They had very real problems, and Orwell eventually became known for his involvement in social justice and inequality rights.
Talk about truly walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. You can imagine why understanding people’s challenges and struggles on a daily basis can make you more attuned to them emotionally.
In summary, charisma can begin with small steps such as finding a role model to aspire to, becoming a role model with specific traits, and visualizing to improve empathy. For more, read: Magnetic Charisma: How to Build Instant Rapport, Be More Likable, and Make a Memorable Impression – Gain the It Factor