Charm is the art of having an attractive personality. Some people charm others the moment they enter a room, while others earn a reputation as a charmer over a period of time. While everyone is born with differing amounts of natural charm, much can be acquired and honed through practice. Read on to learn how to use your attitude and body language to be charming.
Having a Charming Attitude
- Be genuinely interested in people. You don't have to love everyone, but you should be curious or fascinated by people in some way. Charming people walk into a room full of people ready to spend time talking to others; they don't stand against the wall waiting for the moment when they can escape. What interests you about other people? If you're empathetic, maybe you're interested in how people feel. Maybe you're interested in what makes people tick, or what knowledge they hold. Use your interest as the basis for getting to know people.
- Remember people's names when you meet them for the first time. This takes an enormous amount of effort for most people, but it's completely worth doing if you want to be charming. When introducing yourself, repeating the person's name will help you to remember it. For example: "Hi, Jack, I'm Wendy." Follow through with small talk and use the person's name during your conversation. Repeat it once more when you say goodbye.
- Repeating someone's name is not just about helping you to remember that person. The more often you say someone's name, the more that person will feel that you like them and the greater the chance they'll warm up to you.
- If someone else walks up while you're having a conversation, introduce the two people by name.
- Assume rapport. This simply means talking to a stranger or a newly met acquaintance in a very friendly manner, as if the person is a long lost friend or relative. This helps break down an initial awkwardness and speeds up the warm-up process when meeting new people. Soon, people feel more welcomed and comfortable around you.
- Kindness, coupled with respect, makes others feel as if they are loved and cared for. This is a powerful tool during interaction.
- Talk about topics that interest the people you're with. If you're in a sporty crowd, talk about last night's game or the meteoric rise of a new team. If you're with a group of hobbyists, ask about their hobbies and make pertinent remarks related to fishing, knitting, mountain climbing, movies, and so on.
- Nobody expects you to be an expert. Sometimes you can build rapport just by asking questions, and not caring if you seem naive. There are people who like talking about and explaining their interests, and will like you for listening. It is your level of interest and willingness to engage in topics that makes you an interesting person to be around.
- Exercise an open mind. Let others do the explaining. If someone mistakenly thinks you know more about the topic, be genuine and simply say that your knowledge is limited but that you're hoping to learn more about it.
- Share information about yourself. Being quiet about yourself makes you seem standoffish. Sharing as much about yourself as you ask others to share is a way to build trust with other people. They'll feel special because you wanted to talk about your life with them, and before you know it you'll have new friends.
Wielding Physical Charm
- Make eye contact. Looking at people directly in the eyes gives you a certain hold over them. It projects confidence on your end while making the person you're speaking with feel that they are interesting enough to gaze upon. Keep eye contact throughout the conversation. No matter what you're talking about, holding the person's eyes will make you seem more charming.
- Smile with your eyes. Scientists have pinpointed more than 50 types of smiles, and research suggests that the sincerest smile of all is the Duchenne smile - a smile that pushes up into the eyes. The reason it's more genuine is because the muscles needed to smile with our eyes are involuntary; they only become engaged in an authentic smile, not in a courtesy smile. Also, if you look at someone and then smile, it will instantly charm them.
- Give a firm handshake. Shaking a person's hand when you first meet them is a polite way to show the person they're someone you want to talk to. Use a firm grip, but don't hold on too tight - you don't want to hurt the person's hand. After one good shake, release the person's hand from your grip.
- In regions where shaking hands is not customary, use a different appropriate physical gesture to show you're interested in talking to someone. A kiss on both cheeks, a bow, or another physical gesture gets the conversation off to a good start.
- Use charming body language. Face the person you're talking to so that it doesn't seem as though you're anxious to walk away as soon as the conversation is over. During the course of the conversation, it may be appropriate to use light touching to keep it moving. You can lightly touch the person's shoulder to emphasize a point, for example. At the end of the conversation, decide whether it's appropriate to give a quick hug or another handshake.
- Control your tone of voice. Your voice should be gentle and peaceful, yet direct. Articulate your words clearly and project your voice. Practice giving compliments into a recorder and play it back. Does your voice sound sincere?
Charming People With Words
- Use impressive phrasing. Be mature and use a touch of wise, polite language. Don't you find people that say "Hello" are much more charming than people that mutter "'Sup"? Here is another example: Change "It's none of his beeswax!" to "It shouldn't be any of his concern." Of course, don't overdo it, but try to be polite and turn every negative into a positive.
- Issue compliments generously. Compliments raise others' self esteem and make them feel fondly toward you. If you like someone, find a creative way to say it and say it immediately. If you wait too long, it may be viewed as insincere and badly timed, especially if others have beaten you to it.
- If you notice that someone is putting a lot of effort into something, compliment them, even if you feel that there is room for improvement.
- If you notice that someone has changed something about themselves (haircut, manner of dress, etc.), notice it and point out something you like about it. If you're asked directly, be charming and deflect the question with a very general compliment.
- Be gracious in accepting compliments. Get out of the habit of assuming that a compliment is being given without genuine intent. Even when someone makes a compliment out of contempt, there is always a germ of jealous truth hiding in their own heart. Be effusive in accepting the compliment.
- Go beyond a mere "Thank you" and enjoin this with "I'm glad you like it," or "It is so kind of you to have noticed." These are compliments in return.
- Avoid backhanding a compliment. There is nothing worse to a person complimenting than to receive the response "Oh well, I wish I were as ______ as you in that situation." This is tantamount to saying, "No, I am not what you are saying I am; your judgment is wrong."
- Praise others instead of gossiping. If you're speaking with someone or you're talking in a group of people, and up pops the subject of another person in a positive or negative way, be the one to mention something you like about that person. Kind hearsay is the most powerful tool in gaining charm because it is always viewed as 100 percent sincere. It has the added benefit of creating trust in you. The idea will spread that you never have a bad word to say about anyone. Everyone will know that their reputation is safe with you.
- Be a good listener. Charm isn't always an outward expression, but an inward one too. Engage the other person to talk more about his or herself, about something that they like, something they're passionate about, about themselves. This makes the other person more comfortable to share and express themselves with you.
- Smile at people you meet.
- Never put yourself above another. For example, if someone drops a book near you, stoop down, pick it up and graciously hand it to them saying, "I think you dropped this". You will stand out as being caring and willing to help.
- Be kind and gentle; not loud and rude.
- Put some humor in the things you say. Most people love a person who can make them laugh.
- Do not avoid eye contact. Look into their eyes when you talk to them.
- Always be you. If people like a fake you then you'll twist yourself a web of lies and when it falls apart you'll be left with nothing but angry and hateful people.
- When you greet someone, make them feel they are the most important person to you. They will respond more nicely and always know what a great person you are.
- Empathy is at the core of charm. If you can't tell what makes people happy or unhappy, you have no way to assess whether you are saying the right or wrong thing.
- Cursing is something to avoid doing; it puts a lot of people off, and it won't make you seem like a charming person.
- The degree of charm that you possess depends on the creativity of your praise. Say something that is not immediately obvious and say it in a poetic way. It's good to have some premeditated compliments and phrases but the most charming people are able to invent them on the spot. This way, you can be sure that you are not repeating it. If you can't think of anything to say, bring up a current event that is interesting.
- Improve your posture. Throw those shoulders back and let them drop (relax). When you walk, imagine you're crossing a finish line; the first part of your body to cross should be your torso, not your head. If you have poor posture, your head will be pushed forward, which makes you seem timid and insecure.(If you're female, push your breasts forward. Sounds odd but it can help you learn proper posture)
- If forcing good posture doesn't look right, strengthen your muscles. These would include your upper back (traps & lats), shoulders, and chest. Your neck will fall into place and your posture will be perfect naturally.
- Be nice to everyone and smile wide to exude confidence.
- Find out what he or she likes and talk about it.
- Stare at people, slightly smile, and nod when they're talking so they know you're interested.
- Always use open body language, if you look closed and shelled up people won't get as much of a good vibe from you when meeting.
- Read a book on body language; not only can it be helpful for reading others' emotions, but can also help you be more aware of your body language.
- Don't confuse being charming with being a people pleaser.
- Every so often you will have no choice but to express an opinion that few others hold. That is fine. Consider expressing it in a humorous way. Humor is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.