Can we bust a myth right now?
A common misconception is that highly charismatic people are perfect. That their charisma comes from their superior, skills, income or looks. But this is not the case at all.
Being charismatic is about perfectly embracing imperfections.
Wondering what on earth I am talking about? Let's go to the science:
Habit #1: Embrace Imperfections
Psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted a study where two actresses sell a blender to mall-goers. Actress one had a perfect presentation and produced a flawless smoothie to viewers. Actress two had a great presentation, but "accidentally" forgot to tighten the lid and the smoothie splashed all over her.
Can you guess who sold more blenders and who was rated higher by audience members?
Actress #2, 'the clumsy' woman, was rated as more likable. Wiseman found that her vulnerability humanized her, and therefore increased her influence over the audience.
This vulnerability effect has been shown over and over again in the research. When we admit to weakness, others connect with us and see us as more likable. So, I want you to embrace your imperfections. Don't feel the need to be perfect, impressive or superior. Just be yourself!
Habit #2: Don't Be A Conversational Narcissist
My uncle once told me, "You have two ears and one mouth, so that should match the rate you speak and listen." I have never forgotten those wise words. Charismatic people know how to listen and listen well. Try to maintain the 2:1 ratio of listening to speaking. The easiest way to speak less and listen more is to: Ask tons of clarification questions.
Instead of staying on the surface at networking events, dig deeper by asking follow-up questions and for examples. Not only will you understand more about them, you also increase your connection. And remember, when you're speaking, you aren't learning.
Habit #3: Gush, Don't Gossip
There is a scientific principle called "Spontaneous Trait Transference". This fascinating behavior shows that when you speak ill of someone else, people can't help but associate that trait to you. In other words, if you say someone is mean and shallow -- the person listening can't help but assign those traits to you as well. This finding shows us why our mommas might have been right when they told us not to gossip! Never, ever speak ill of others. If you want to talk about someone, try gushing. Pick someone who you adore and share all of their awesome qualities. I try very hard to practice gushing, not gossiping, and I have found that it is wonderful to speak genuinely about people you respect and admire.
One way I do this is when I am introducing two people who might not know each other, I not only say, "Aaron meet Jess, Jess meet Aaron." But then I go on to explain a bit about what they do and why they rock.
Something like this: "Aaron meet Jess, she is a fantastic pastry chef at a local bakery. She is too shy to admit it, but her secret scone recipe is to die for. And Jess, you have to meet Aaron. Aaron is a tech entrepreneur working on an amazing company that is using 3D printers to create car parts. We better watch out because in the next few years he will probably be on the cover of Time magazine!"
In this way, I get to talk about two people I genuinely respect and admire, share their stories and put them at ease -- they can't brag about themselves, but I can!
Habit #4: Hand Power
Your hands are your trust indicators. We have found that charismatic people not only keep them visible, but use them to emphasize their words.
Habit #5: Deep Gazing
Studies have found that people who deep gaze -- by noticing eye color or blink rate -- have a much stronger connection. When you are with someone, put all of your stuff away -- don't hold your phone in your hand, don't leave it on the table, turn the buzzer off. Notice their eye color.
Try these tips to help you master your people skills!