Recently, I was at a conference with colleagues and found myself captivated by a number of the people who organized the event. It amazed me how the awkward, middle-school dance vibe that these events usually start with was absent.
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In its place was such a comfortable environment, one that fostered sharing and networking.
It was so out of the ordinary that before I let it engulf me, I stood back and watched.
Everyone seemed to know everyone. The conference leaders worked the room, moving from group to group with a fluidity of conversation and a degree of comfort to their stature.
I was amazed. I admired them greatly. I admired their charisma.
As an art historian with a particular interest in religious artifacts, I’m very familiar with a variety of religious texts.
Ancient religious texts believed that charisma was a special gift bestowed upon you by a deity for you to then move forward and spread the word of that faith. The reason?
Charisma is compelling. Charisma can be the difference between being a strong team member and a leader.
We all possess a bit of charisma, but it’s a skill that can be built upon.
Since that conference, I reach for these cues I witnessed that day to get myself in the right place to work a room, to establish familiarity with people, and to be a shining example of charisma. Here’s how you can, too:
1. Dress For Success
It sounds like a cliche, but the right outfit can put you in the right mindset.
Think of the times you’ve run out to the store in ratty clothes just to run into someone who you haven’t seen in a long time.
You notice how those instances make you shrink in on yourself? You feel small.
Conversely, when you take a little longer to gussy yourself up, you can feel your mood shift.
Find a balance where your outfit makes you comfortable and confident without making you late.
2. Steady Yourself
Charismatic people ooze confidence.
Remind yourself of all the reasons you should believe in yourself.
If you find yourself dwelling on your past mistakes, realize they aren’t the end of the world.
You made it past them to get to this moment, after all. Calming your nerves before entering a situation is key to making sure you appear collected and keeping you physically sound as well.
A person who checks their anxieties at the door also leaves behind physical tics that can be distracting and alert others to unsureness.
3. Keep The Conversation Genuine
Often at social events, things kick off with a feeling of awkwardness.
Don’t wait for an icebreaker, be the icebreaker. Talk to people genuinely. Find a way to relate to each person you encounter.
If you notice their comfort level doesn’t match your own, find ways to engage them that can ease their discomfort.
Be sure to listen as much as you talk. No one likes a one-sided conversation or a self-centered speaker.
Be sure to learn things about the people you’re talking to.
When it is your time to speak, speak honestly and let your passion shine through.
4. Be Expressive
Charismatic people master the art of doing what they need to do while remaining personable.
Think of how some of your favorite celebrities speak out on the causes they support.
You’re more likely to back them if they’re speaking from the heart than if they seem to be reading off a teleprompter.
Your presence should be commanding and professional if the situation calls for it, but it shouldn’t wash away all traces of your personality.
The more comfortable you seem, the more relatable and accessible you are to your audience. It’s crucial to drawing them in.
5. Engage With As Many People As You Can
While it’s important to get in a significant amount of time with key players, people always feel warm towards the person in the room who noticed the people that most others forgot.
Even if it’s a quick “Hi, how are you? ” taking a few minutes with each person to make sure you really work the room can make all the difference.
While we all possess a bit of charisma that we’ve picked up along the way, it is a learned skill.
With practice, you’ll be able to see others reacting to you in new and interesting ways.
Notice all of the opportunities you’re presented with to utilize these tools and see where they can take you!