Have you ever wondered what exactly "charisma" is? And have you ever wondered how you could "get it" ... even if you feel like you're not charismatic?
I remember as a young girl watching my father win over people everywhere he went. It didn't matter if we were at a mall, at a restaurant, or at the beach. Within just five minutes, my dad always seemed to have a cohort of new friends gathered around him.
At the time, I didn't understand what my dad was doing or what "charisma" was — let alone how "charisma" worked. But now that I teach it to other people and have broken it down in a practical way, I realized that being charismatic is about how you feel about yourself. It's not a fancy technique or tactic. When you feel "magnetic" to yourself, you will draw people to you as a result.
But let's start with a basic question: why try to be more charismatic anyway? For one, having charisma instantly makes people like you, but also trust you. That could mean more income. More friends. Your first choice of a partner.
Is it hard to "get" charisma, though? Not at all. I'm going to show you three ways you can spark charisma in three different contexts: at work, at a social event and even in a high-stakes, one-on-one situations, like with a boss or client. Ready?
Focus on a time in your life when you've felt sharp, focused, and productive. Why did you feel that way? What triggered it?
Once you know what "triggers" those feelings for you, practice that activity you identified and do it for 5-10 minutes before you go to work. This is the kind of charisma where you can focus on what people are saying to you, what their needs are, and actively listen to them. This keeps you present, and makes people feel like they're the only person in the world at that moment.
2. Social Events
For social events, the kind of charisma you may want to trigger is likely a little different from what you'd want to project at work. If you want to be approachable and open to meeting new people, it's best to think about what triggers you to feel warm toward and curious about others.
This can be quite simple. For example, a client and I recently discussed why a particular evening out went so well for her. We ended up identifying that a key trigger for her feeling good and attracting others was that she simply took extra time to get ready. Having time to get ready for her evening in a leisurely, calm way let her feel open, relaxed and confident.
Once you identify the activities that trigger those feels of warmth and openness, practice them for 5-10 minutes before you go to your next date, networking event or holiday party.
3. High-Stakes Situations
Now this kind of charisma is very different from the other two. If you're in a high-stakes situation — perhaps with a boss or a client — you're going to want to focus on what would make you feel powerful or "on top of your game."
A trigger for myself in this area is watching a few videos of powerful people giving public speeches. I watch how their bodies are moving, how they project themselves. In high-stakes situations, you most likely want to command respect and be seen as an authority (even if you're in a junior or subordinate position).
An example of another trigger I've had clients practice before is standing in front of a mirror for 5-10 minutes and practicing exactly what they'll say and how they're going to say it — paying attention to how their voice sounds and their body language. One of the biggest mistakes people make is speaking as if their statements were questions — you want your statements to end on a "down note." This is one of those small tweaks that can drastically change how people perceive you.
What I recommend is to go through each of these situations one at the time, and focus on the one that's most important to you right now. If you have work tomorrow, focus on that. Happy hour tonight? Work on those social triggers. Negotiating your salary on Monday? Put all of your time and energy into that.
As I tell all of my clients and people I talk to, finding your "triggers" is a process to be refined and tested because you're finding out what works best for you. And if you're committed to improving how you feel about yourself and most importantly — how other people see you — then finding your "charisma triggers" may be the best investment you make of your time all year.
Felicia is giving away a few free gifts just for MindBodyGreen readers to help you continue to practice charisma.