How to Be Charismatic

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Charisma is a sexy word and a sexy trait. I believe that knowing how to be charismatic can greatly enhance your relationships, your career and your social life, so I couldn’t pass up writing about it.

What Is Charisma?

Charisma is hard to define exactly, which is why, interestingly enough, many definitions will actually mention that it’s hard to define exactly.

This is probably because there are so many kinds of people, with so different personalities that are commonly labeled as being charismatic. What do Gandhi and Oprah have in common? Not much, but they’re both considered highly charismatic.

That’s just it with charisma: it’s not one trait, it is rather a label we use to describe a wide range of personality traits. Basically, anytime someone makes us feel warm and tingly inside on a consistent basis, we call that person “charismatic”.

The critical thing all charismatic people have in common is a strong appeal to others which enables them to connect with others and influence them at a deep emotional level. For this reason, I think that knowing how to be charismatic is a noteworthy thing. This being said…

Here’s How to Be Charismatic

Now, there may be many types of charisma, but there is a common thread running through all of them. Understand this common thread and you’re on your way to consciously developing your charisma and skyrocketing your people skills.

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As a social confidence coach, charisma is one of the most fascinating traits for me to study. I believe there are five important things you need to do in order to be charismatic.

1. Fucking Relax!

Every charismatic person I’ve ever known or studied is very comfortable in social situations. They are able to relax around people and have chill interactions, or else they are able to fake it really, really well.

Now, I want to emphasize that this is rare: most people aren’t fully relaxed and themselves in most social interactions, with the exception of those with close friends and family. There is a certain degree of discomfort they feel in social interactions. Learn to get over that, and you send out a radically different vibe.

If this is an issue for you, check out my free conversation confidence guide. In this guide, I’ll reveal to you the secrets to becoming confident and relaxed in social settings. Go here to learn more about it.

2. Be Present

Another thing charismatic people have in common is that they are present in social interactions. They’re not in their heads, hyper-analyzing the interaction or imagining where it will go. They are in the moment.

This is extremely important because being in the moment allows you to respond to what’s happening in the interaction in a calibrated and at the same time spontaneous way. Whenever you catch yourself being in your head when interacting with someone, stop yourself and practice being present.

By the way, my free conversation confidence guide will help significantly you with this as well.

3. Listen At A Deep Level

Deep listening means not only paying attention to what the other person is saying, but also being able to hear what has not been said, but it is there. It means understanding the needs certain words convey or understanding the emotions certain body language reflects.

If you want to learn how to be charismatic, this is a skill you simply have to master. A deep interpersonal connection happens when you are listening at a deep level. It’s essential to really pay attention to the other person and read the more subtle messages beyond the simple words.

4. Be Expressive

Charismatic people can convey their own feelings and ideas in a powerful way. They are able to state things clearly, and they use suggestive words that elicit powerful emotions. They also put their voice and their body language into it, thus enhancing the power of words.

This expressive style of communication can be learned. The main thing is to consciously focus on using more and better both the verbal and non-verbal channel, in order to get across your message.

5. Develop Your Social Intelligence

This is a tricky one. Charisma is to a large extent the result of understanding social dynamics, of understanding how people behave around other people, why they do so and what consequences it has.

A person with good social intelligence is able to adapt their social behavior to produce effective results. You truly comprehend how to be charismatic and you can be so when you have a well developed social intelligence.

The five points above are much more than simple action steps. They are each attitudes, habits and people skills in themselves.

You want to know how to become charismatic? Here’s how: You put in the time and energy to get a fine-tuned understanding of these five traits and to develop them.

Charisma is not that illusive trait people make it out to be. It has a structure; it can be learned to a big degree. If you put in the work, you see the results.

Image courtesy of Gregory Bastien

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Comments

  1. That’s a good one! You summarized in a few words the essence of what most people are attempting to discover by trial and error.

  2. Fucking Relax! – the best advice!

  3. From being in your head to being present … I like it.

  4. #1 is awesome. For those of us who are introverts; however, it’s not that simple. I’m so very uninterested in impressing people and so uneasy in certain social settings that I do everything except relax. All I can think about is getting home to my writing table. I’m starting to think charisma is not in the cards for me. And I’m cool with that.

    • Cheer up Nea, I’ve seen a few shy people turning into charismatic people (I use the word shy because I understand something else through introvert).

      I think it’s important to set intermediary goals for yourself: first get comfortable with opening up, then aim for charisma.

  5. Eduard: Great post. I really liked the formula you recommended in order to really be charismatic. It makes perfect sense and after reading your list, I can see how all of those factors work together to make someone really charismatic. I think it is helpful to see the breakdown of what goes into the charisma formula so you can determine for yourself those areas you may want to strengthen and enhance. Great post and great information.

    • Hey Sib,

      You make a good point about those factors working together. In isolation, I’m not sure they create a charismatic person. The mix is very powerful.

  6. Nice. To feel the present and to empathize are very important.

  7. Nice, I love this post and the first 2 tips are exactly right – you need to relax, and not think too much. Just be present, and don’t worry what other ppl think about what you say. Just relax, CHILL!

  8. Eduard, you must be an “old soul” having so much wisdom! Having charisma can be a dangerous thing. Don’t you think Hitler was charismatic? It’s also is a pain in the ass to be charismatic due to people following you around thinking that you have all the answers. And depending on how much ego or how much maturity you have, charisma can screw with your head… if you let it. What do you think?

    • Thanks Dorothy, that’s a beautiful compliment.

      I think Hitler was charismatic. He is proof that charisma is a tool that can be a used in many ways.

      As for your second question, trust me, charismatic people have no problem with other people following them around. It’s part of what makes them have charisma.

  9. Deep-level listening is key. I’m on the level where I have to learn this , and practice it daily. I can read a ton of books and buy high-ticket items about the topic, unless I go out and there… talk less, and listen more, or I won’t get any better…

    P.S. I guess that’s half art, half science: “understanding how people behave around other people, why they do so and what consequences it has”. You’ve said it so well!

  10. Good. Last time I checked that company web site, it went down, it’s still down, wondering what’s wrong with it…

    • Yeah, I didn’t find the company website useful anymore so I took it down. Will probably be back online in an updated version when I’ll need it again.

  11. Hmm… why not, don’t you need marketing as well like all of us? :)

    Wondering what’s the role of that company if you could share with us here (or email me privately if you like) and how does it work for you in nowdays Economic climate…

  12. Carol-Lynne says:

    Not sure why you went with a smoker for your attention grabbing charisma symbol.

    perpetuation effect?

    otherwise, good info here.

    • LOL, I didn’t even fully realized he had a cigar in his mouth. That detail was only in the back of my mind, somewhere. I went for that picture because I think he has a sort of Marlon Brando look which I like.

  13. I was wondering if I can be enigmatic and charismatic at the same time, since both qualities do conflict with each other.

    I have been described to have an enigmatic personality, but at the same time having a quality that the others find it irresistible (not bragging here). I am confused.

    • I think being enigmatic has a certain allure but it doesn’t last. People get bored by it pretty quickly. You’re much better off being self-expressive.

  14. This could take a few decades… it takes a LOT to be charismatic. I just need to start with Step 1 – relax. Last week I was feeling really weird at a party, and it wasn’t until a couple days later that I realized it would have been SO much better if I just relaxed and went into a meditative state about the situation.

    • I think the first step of relaxing is the hardest in learning how to be charismatic, but also the most important. It’s mostly downhill from there. And yes, it can take years. Got anything better to do? :)

  15. Lafayette says:

    If charisma meets charisma, which one will prevail?

    Is it possible charismatic person follow another one? Or the’re both stay on their ground and stick out like sore thumbs

    For me to be in the presence of charismatic guys feels like someone switches a light in a room.

    • If charisma meets charisma, then charisma will prevail :)

      I don’t think charismatic people are immune to other charismatic people. They influence each other. There is both leadership and followership in any person.

  16. It’s ironic that I found this article, because I’ve been really working on this stuff lately. Charisma in particular.

    I had the good pleasure of meeting someone who was probably the most charismatic individual I’ve ever met. He was just SO RELAXED, all the time. He really had his confidence handled. Plus he had a really great voice that was fun to listen to.

    I’ve been reminded myself lately to consciously relax in social interactions, and be present. I find that those two go hand in hand, by the way. It’s worked great so far, here’s to continual improvement!

    • Hi Fred,

      Wow! I see you’re all over the blog this morning. Welcome aboard in full throttle ;)

      Charisma really is a huge topic with a lot to be said on it, which is why I’ll be writing an ebook on it.

  17. Eduard!

    My man you nailed it!

    In high school I was the introvert everyone was curious about but never spoke to.

    Now being ‘in the moment’ has brought me so far – college girls all over me you name it.

    It’s such a simple formula anyone can master:

    I was at a function the other day and I just did two things: complimented a lady on her dress code, and just LISTENED to her for hours – hardly saying a word. By the end of the night she told a buddy of mine I was ‘the most charming person she has ever met’

    ‘fucking relax’ – hahaha – Love it

    Cheers
    Mark

  18. Very well defined. I have a six year old son who is very charismatic and liked by girls and boys in his Kindergarten class. Parents and grandmothers (in particular) love him. It is almost funny. I agree that charisma can be learned to some extent but some people naturally have it, and those who are naturally charismatic are usually not aware of it. AND I think that’s part of the charisma.

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