“Being present — paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts — can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”
― Olivia Fox Cabane
Charisma is Learnable
As an introvert, I need my alone time to recharge and recuperate. Although I enjoy attending social settings, being around others can be draining.
Growing up, I was always shy.
During class, I would be afraid to speak up and express my honest thoughts. And I would only participate in group discussions when the teachers called on me.
And during those times, my face turned red out of nervousness and lack of confidence. This was a repeating pattern until my days in college.
At parties, I always had difficulty starting conversations with others. Just the mere thought of possibly saying the wrong things made me tense.
Because of the negative scenarios that played out in my head, I wouldn’t even bother trying. Due to this continual habit, I thought my shyness was because of my introvert personality.
As time went on, I remained timid because of my repressed behaviors.
When I reached my early 20s, I discovered social skill is learnable. It’s not something innate.
Despite being an introvert, I can practice the fundamental principles of interpersonal abilities. They include the following:
Asking engaging questions
By increasing my awareness in these particular areas, I can start focusing on the small yet important adjustments on becoming a more magnetic person in social settings.
With incremental changes, I experienced progress. And as a result, I gained more comfortability in my own skin.
Now, it’s a constant practice.
To be more mindful of my posture and facial expressions, I regularly do a bodycheck by evaluating my movements and stance. Because through those nonverbal cues, I’m communicating to the world using gestures.
Therefore, to project a positive self-image, I focus on training my body to portray comfort and friendliness by having a relaxed pose.
Charisma plays an important role in my life as it helps me to build likability and trust with others. In addition, it also enables me to become a more powerful leader by having more influence and persuasion.
It’s an invaluable skill which I will improve on for the rest of my life.
Be Fully Present During Interactions
In her book The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Olivia Fox Cabane breaks down charisma into three parts:
Two practical steps you can increase your mindfulness is the following:
Take long and deep breathes
Feel your body sensations by wiggling your fingers and toes
By focusing on your breath and body sensations, you bring your attention to the present moment. These simple acts get you out of your head; You won’t be distracted by your own thoughts.
Afterward, you can concentrate on your current task such as actively listening to the person you’re in conversation with.
Doing this will make others feel heard and appreciated.
They subconsciously feel valued because you’re giving them your full attention. And that’s the key to having presence, to be completely present in the now.
Portraying charisma, you will increase the probability of others wanting to help you or led by you.
Portray Compassion, Empathy, and Goodwill
When we see other people, we subconsciously asked ourselves:
“Is this person a friend or enemy?”
“Should I stay or run away?”
Based on their appearance and behaviors, we make quick evaluations of others. Therefore, if you want to project an image of friendliness and comfortability, then you must display amiability.
When you demonstrate warmth, you embody the following characteristics:
Willingness to positively impact the world
To get into a warmful state, you can start by appreciating what you currently have such as the electronic you’re reading this from.
Other things may including your able body – working hands and legs. When you’re grateful for your current circumstances, you’ll feel happy and can’t help but genuinely smile.
You’ll naturally exude the positive energy from the inside out. Once you tap into the gratitude, you can unleash the following:
Goodwill – your intention to wish others well without knowing their current feelings
Empathy – your understanding of what another person is going through from personal experience
Compassion – the combination of goodwill and empathy, the comprehension of how others are feeling and you wish them well.
When you truly feel the above internally, your body language will demonstrate it effortlessly.
During your interactions, others will feel sincerely valued and cared about.
Practice Powerful Body Language
Most of our communication is nonverbal. It’s through the millions of years of human evolution.
The spoken language is still relatively new compared to that of nonverbal cues such as facial expressions. Hence, words have a much smaller effect compared to that of body language in our overall message.
Because it’s hardwired in our mind for survival reasons, we instinctively and subconsciously judge others based on their appearance and behaviors. From the way they dress, talk, move, and how other people react to them, we have a pretty solid general idea of their level of confidence, intelligence, and social status.
This is all done in a matter of seconds.
To increase your level of influence and persuasion in your interactions, you must speak with conviction.
This means you wholeheartedly believe in what you’re saying. Your delivery is firm and resolute. In addition, your vocal variety changes to signify importance in your communication.
However, without warmth, you can be seen as arrogant, cold, and standoffish.
Therefore, inject appropriate humor and smiles during conversations to boost your level of effectiveness in your interactions.
Charisma starts in the mind.
Once you are truly comfortable in your own skin, your body will naturally manifest itself with respect to those positive thoughts and feelings.
That’s because all your movements are subconsciously controlled.
Charismatic people such as Bill Clinton has been practicing interpersonal abilities since he was a young child. Because we haven’t zoomed out their timeline long enough, we think they’re naturally gifted.
Those magnetic people have been either subconsciously or consciously practicing their social skills for decades. Knowing this gives us hope, that almost anything can be learned and cultivated.
If you can harness the power of charisma with regular intentional focus and application, it will soon become second nature.
And the rewards include having better results in your relationships and success.
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