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Likable people have an easier time getting ahead; in fact, having charisma can help you improve your personal life and professional life. Some experts argue that likability is more important today than ever before thanks to social media and video conferencing. Ultimately, charismatic people have control over situations and outcomes because they are better at motivating others and managing emotions.
Many people mistakenly believe charisma is a characteristic people are born with. In actuality, it’s more a skill that’s cultivated and adapted. Yes, it comes more naturally to some individuals than others, but as noted in Olivia Fox Cabane’s book The Charisma Myth, anyone can become more likable with a little work and a better understanding of what influences charisma.
The Emotional Intelligence Factor
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a significant component of being charismatic. The capacity to understand another person and empathize with him or her is a trait that makes a person extremely likable. People with high EQ ask questions and don’t pass judgment, which also helps them connect with others.
A person’s emotional intelligence can be improved. EQ is influenced by genetics, but there are ways to shift behaviors and increase empathy. Two things experts suggest people work on first are stress management and interpersonal skills.
The Shared Mindset of Charismatic People
It should be noted that most charismatic people share a similar mindset. They are generally positive, upbeat, and confident without coming off as cocky. This mindset paired with a high EQ leads to common behaviors that charismatic people display:
- Being in the moment and engaged.
- Giving off warmth and openness.
- Showing capability and strength that makes others want to follow.
However, under all of this there has to be genuine feelings. Putting on a fake smile and simply saying what someone wants to hear won’t be perceived as charisma. More often than not people can see through a façade, and instead of feeling a connection they’re turned off. When trust is lost so is the charisma.
Emotional Obstacles That Get in the Way
People who lack charisma have a number of emotional obstacles that are standing in the way of being likable, but these can be overcome. For many people, stress and anxiety overshadow charisma. When a person is stressed it’s near impossible to relax and exude the confidence that makes charismatic people magnetic.
Avoiding negative thoughts is another issue. Charismatic people don’t ignore negative thoughts; they neutralize them. They do this by acknowledging the negative thoughts and managing them in a positive manner. It again goes back their high emotional intelligence—instead of letting their emotions control them, people with charisma control their emotions.
The Importance of the First Impression
First impressions are important. When you’re charismatic you generally leave people with a good impression. Charismatic people immediately put others at ease and make them feel comfortable because of their genuine nature. This is huge during an initial encounter when people are usually a bit on edge because of uncertainty.
Making a good first impression dramatically improves relationships with others. Studies have shown that when people make a positive first impression, their relationship is likely to grow. A negative first impression will make cultivating a relationship extremely difficult. Even after subsequent interactions that first impression plays a major role in how people feel about one another.
Using Body Language to Draw People In
People with personal magnetism don’t just say the right things. They also use body language to express thoughts and emotions. This is a very important point given that the majority of what we receive during communication actually comes from body language.
Charismatic people know the power of making eye contact, how to feel out personal space and ways to add impact with gestures. All of that non-verbal communication pulls people in and makes them more connected to what is being said.
Today there are training programs specifically designed to help people increase emotional intelligence, decrease stress levels, and improve intrapersonal skills. Cabane’s book itself isn’t just a good read: it’s meant to be a resource that can help anyone become a little more charismatic.