Self Confidence: The Art of Charisma
I have met people with an incredible ability to mesmerize almost anyone and at any given moment. Their allure captivates others. There’s something about them that magnetise their attention. Perhaps you have met such a charismatic individual? It most certainly has little to do with their appearance, social class or their possessions, but everything to do about how they make you feel. You know this because you are drawn to them. You want to be near them, and you wish that you could be more like them.
Everyone is capable of developing charisma. In this article, I will demonstrate that even you can have charm and captivate others around you. Here are my tips:
1. Presence: “My presence speaks volumes even before I say a word” Mos Def
The online dictionary defines presence as “the ability to project a sense of ease, poise, or self-assurance, especially the quality or manner of a person’s bearing before an audience”
Let’s consider this for a moment. Now, how does one project a sense of ease, poise or self-assurance? Somehow, at first glance, it appears as though one might have to exude something magical to hypnotize the audience into thinking that he is at ease, poised and self-assured. Does it not? Furthermore, how does one measure the quality of the manner in which he presents himself? That sure sounds a little exhausting! Be that as it may, the definition is spot on.
According to Lou Solomon — ‘Ways To Unlock Your Charisma’— the secret of having presence is to become attentive. He says, “Attention is the electrical current that connects us. It’s unattractive to be distracted when others are speaking, leading a meeting or just trying to have a conversation. The ability to notice when your mind wanders and redirect your thoughts back into the present moment is a leadership habit that takes constant practice.”
Have presence and stop thinking about yourself and for yourself. Treat the people around you like they are gold. If anything should exude from anywhere it should be from them. If you can’t see it, find it. We all have something unique about us. Remember that it is always tempting to tell others about how brilliant you are and all incredible things you have done. Resist the temptation; have them tell you about their brilliance instead. This is how you have presence, by being present to someone who truly needs to feel important. They will never forget the way you made them feel.
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘make me feel important’. Never forget this message when working with people.”- Mary Kay Ash
2. Confidence is contagious. Catch it. Spread it.
It all begins with who you say you are. Who are you really? I speak about this all the time. We are living in the age of over stimulation, where everything is in excess. Even narcissism has become a new norm. We forget how special and unique we are. We forget that there’s absolutely no one else quite like us, and we spend our lives trying to deny our originality, and do everything to become copies of others. How can one be confident and exude charisma, when he has not even met himself yet?
The closer you are to yourself, the more comfortable you are with yourself, and therefore the more confident you are. This means you never sacrifice your values for the sake of fitting in. Confident people have passion for what they do for a living, they make an effort in the manner in which they present themselves, they accept themselves they way they are.
Moreover, building positive self-confidence has a lot to do with balancing your 4 pillars of life. I have discussed these elements in detail is this article. Our lives revolve around these four concepts:
- Career: work/finances/business
- Relationships: romantic/ family/friendships/colleagues/the public
- Health & Fitness: workout/ healthy lifestyle/ health/ image
- Spirituality: religion/self-awareness/emotional intelligence/self discovery/mindfulness etc.
When the above are in balance, one tends to be more confident. Remember that it is not just about having any career, but one that gives you a sense of purpose. It is not about collecting and accumulating friends, but those that make you want to be a better person. It is not about seeking to have particular a body shape or type, but about being healthy. So the question stands, who are you? That is where your charisma rests, with your true self. The rest will fall in place naturally.
3. Let’s start having better Conversations
Starting conversations with people you do not know is much easier than most people realize. The rule remains the same. Make them feel great about themselves. Remember, this is not just about starting a conversation, but about being charismatic while doing it. Here are a few tips:
- Respect – Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Watch your ego and try never to make yourself more important or less important than others.
- Become a great listener – Listen actively, show interest and make an effort to discover more. You will learn great lessons about people and what makes them tick. That is wisdom.
- Find out what people are passionate about and ask them about their passions, and watch how livelier and bubblier they become.
- Give them your undivided attention, like there is no one else in the room.
- Compliment people – Be genuine about it or do not do it at all.
When you do this correctly, you will notice that you speak less and that you listen listen more. All people want is that others listen to them. This is not about pleasing people, but respecting them. Remember that you have presence and that you are confident, thus, you have nothing to prove or defend. You do not even really care about what people think; you are more concerned about respecting them.
Z Hereford— ‘The Art of Conversation’— agrees, he says, “Show interest and be curious. People who are genuinely interested in others are usually interesting themselves. Why? Because they are more open to learning about and understanding new things. Showing interest also encourages the other person to be relaxed and share information more freely. Display attentiveness by keeping good eye contact and listening actively.”
4. “ The most important thing in communication is to hear what ISIN’T being said” – Peter Drucker
Eye contact, Body language and voice tone/speed are huge when having a charismatic communication. In this article, I will only focus on eye contact. I will write another article on other forms of nonverbal communication in the future.
There’s so much in the expression “the eyes are windows to the souls” than what meets the eye. Within the black culture, in South Africa, it is viewed as rude to look at someone much older than yourself (or authority) in the eye. In the Western culture, it is quite the contrary. Now, I understand and respect both these notions. Naturally, I know how to behave in each situation, using my discretion of course. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the Western perspective.
Looking at someone in the eye demonstrates that you:
- Have nothing to hide – for most people, maintaining eye contact can feel very revealing, particularly for those who lack self-confidence. Some people do not wish for others to discern how they feel about themselves.
- Respect them – when you look at your listeners in the eye, they are more likely to look at you, to listen to you and to buy what you are saying. They are encouraged to engage with you.
- Appreciate them – smiling while keeping an eye contact makes your audience feel at ease and gives them the impression that you appreciate that they are opening-up to you.
This might seem overwhelming and daunting for most people. However, there are techniques — discussed below — you should practice that will help you become more comfortable, and these will allow the process feel more natural.
This is how it goes. When speaking to another, try focusing on their one eye at a time. One example would be to concentrate on one eye for about 5 seconds, and then moving to the other eye for another 5 seconds and back again. So you are moving back and forth between the two eyes. Or you can do a triangle, doing exactly the same, but now adding the mouth for another 5 seconds.
You might find part of this article— ‘Looking At The Dominant Eye’, — written by David Boles at Bolesblogs.com interesting. Here is the extract:
“What most of us don’t realize is that when we make eye contact with another person — in person — we don’t make eyes contact, we only make a singular “eye” contact. We cannot look at both eyes of a person at the same time. We can only look at one of their eyes at a time. Perhaps unwittingly, that is how the phrase — “Look me in the eye!” — came into being.
When you look at another person’s eye, and most of us always pick the same one eye of the other person, several things are in play. The person you are looking at has no idea you’re only looking at their one eye, because they’re only capable of looking at one of your eyes, too.” Read more here
In order for one to emanate presence and charisma, one must give-up the ideas that encourage self-obsessive and egocentric behaviour. One must try to suppress the irresistible need to indulge in self-importance, but must rather try to demonstrate the significance of others and their views. This is indeed a great challenge, however, nothing of significance comes easily. A self-serving attitude tends to repulse others, what you really want is to attract them. That is having charisma.
If you are naturally shy, try not to think about how awkward you feel. You have done that most of your life. Now — emphasis on ‘now’— try to imagine how awkward the other person must feel and try your best to make them feel safe, exactly the way you wish to feel. You now have resources to help you. I encourage you to read more on the subject.
Thanks for reading!
I see you!