Learn To Be More Charming
Yes, unfortunately, we all know unpleasant people. Maybe you know a co-worker who insists on being negative about everyone and everything, even when you remind her that Gossip Girl, one of the best shows ever, is now available on Netflix. Or perhaps you know (or have had) a grouchy teacher, the kind of bitter old man who never smiles, reeks of stale coffee, and insists on laughing at you as he assigns yet another Dickens novel the size of a car battery. (Wait, a second, I’m having a nasty flashback to 11th Grade English class — okay, sorry; I’m better now.) So what am I talking about? People with no charm, that’s what I’m talking about. People who, for the most part, we’d all like to avoid. But there are, thank goodness, lots of charming people in the world. Folks who smile, and are kind to others, and listen when you talk, and don’t let their eyes wander around the room because there may be somebody more important (or charming) to chat with. These are the charming men and women we all want to be around, but make no mistake: they weren’t born being unbelievably charming, they worked at it. And now, with these 15 simple tips, you, too, can be more charming. Read on to learn more.
Eye Contact Is Crucial
1. Make good eye contact.
Good eye contact just shows that you’re engaged and listening, pure and simple. Too, we all know that the eyes are the windows to the soul, so how can you really connect with someone if you’re staring at your iPhone or around the room instead of into someone’s eyes? Here’s a little homework assignment. Next time you’re around someone you consider to be charming, watch him or her while he or she talks to someone else. My bet, that person is making good eye contact.
2. Be happy to meet someone new.
For better or worse, personality counts, and it is an extrovert’s world. This maxim holds true in both business/work setting and social circles, so if you want to become more charming, you should go out of your way to try and meet new people. And when you do meet a new acquaintance, remember to smile and show interest in him or her. Never forget the tired (but totally true) cliché: “Interested is interesting.” Meaning, if you’re genuinely interested in other people, you will be perceived as charming. Plus, even if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll find yourself having a better time when you engage with others.
Good Listeners Are Charming
3. Listen — really listen.
With the speed of technology and our hectic daily lives, listening has become a vastly underrated skill. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who constantly interrupt others when they are talking. Drives me absolutely crazy. On the other hand, people who listen attentively, don’t interrupt, and respond thoughtfully are just more pleasant to be around, not to mention charming. Next time you’re with a group of friends, try this exercise that I recently began doing. When someone is talking to you, deliberately clear your mind of all thoughts and images, and focus instead on what the person is saying. You’ll be surprised how much information you retain when you’re not just waiting for your turn to speak. A good listener=very charming, especially in a cute guy, who hangs on your every word!
4. Reach out touch someone — appropriately.
Folks who are skilled communicators know how powerful touch can be, particularly in a work setting. Charming people, who, coincidentally, are often good bosses, will find a way to touch your arm or your shoulder during the course of a conversation. This is to establish an appropriate intimacy, and to let you, the speaker, know that you’re being listened to. This technique also works on the dating scene: whenever your talking to an interesting guy, lean forward and touch his forearm to let him know you’re interested. Touch: it’s very powerful. And, those who use it appropriately, are considered charming.
With Compliments, Be Honest — Always
5. Give honest compliments.
We all know passive aggressive and/or disingenuous people who throw out backhanded or false compliments left and right. These compliments have no real meaning or sentiment, and we dislike the people who give them, right? However, people who look for opportunities to offer genuine praise are both charming and attractive, so follow their lead. Just remember to be honest. If you don’t actually believe what you’re about to say, then don’t say it.
6. Be polite.
An easy one, but worth remembering and living by: good manners cost you nothing. Charming people, I assure you, never forget that saying. It seems obvious, but you should always be polite and understanding, no matter where you are. Oh, and if you really want to know if you’re new guy is worthy of your affections, pay close attention to how he treats people who are, regrettably, sometimes marginalized like waiters and waitresses, or hotel housekeepers. If your guy doesn’t think those people, who do important yet thankless jobs, aren’t worth being courteous to, then he may not be the one for you…and he certainly isn’t charming.
7. Ask interesting, open-ended questions.
Asking questions is the best way to get to know someone. Asking questions is also the best way to develop a closer relationship, to hash out a problem at work or with a friend, and to demonstrate your interest in a potential boyfriend or girlfriend. And while yes or no questions are perfectly fine, open-ended questions—meaning questions that require more than a simple one-word answer—are a tool used often by charming people. Bottom line, we are charmed by men and women who can draw us out in conversation. Always remember, too, that the best way to engage on a personal level is to get someone talking about himself or herself. Another tactic of charming people.
Make Fun Of Yourself A Little
8. Be self-deprecating.
Fact: it is extremely charming (and attractive) personality trait when an otherwise confident person can laugh at himself or herself. So, by all means, poke fun at yourself a little. You spill a bit of coffee on your blouse, make a joke about it. You lock your keys in your car, just laugh it off. Charming never take themselves too seriously. But be careful: don’t make yourself the butt of jokes too often, or you may be perceived as having low self-esteem, which is decidedly not charming. And if, god forbid, you do suffer from low self-esteem, don’t be afraid to seek professional treatment. I know I did, and I am much happier, much confident, and, according to my friends and family, much more charming, too!
9. Talk less
This can be tough, especially for extroverts who just feed off being around people and have so much to say. That said, charming people never monopolize or attempt to dominate conversations. Because they know that other people have interested and intelligent things to say as well, and they would be wise to be quiet a minute and listen. Really, you would be amazed at what people will tell you whenever you hold back and talk less. This is another powerful tool in the charming person’s arsenal.
Ditch The Cell Phone When Conversing
10. Put away the cell phone
I could go on and on about this one. As much as I love my iPhone and think of it like a trusted friend, I have learned to use it responsibly. It is a disgusting habit, constantly glancing down at your cell phone during a conversation. Charming people never do this. Charming people give their full and undivided attention to whomever is in front of them. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, charming people say, "Hey, how 'bout a group selfie?"
In the fantastic movie Steel Magnolias, Dolly Parton, a musical icon and all-around charming woman, says, “Smile! It increases your face value!” And it’s too true. People want to be around happy people, and smiling just makes the smiling person and the people looking at the smiling person feel better. Charming people tend to smile more, even when they might not feel their best, but here’s another secret: sometimes if you force yourself to smile, you will start to feel better. So smile, and be charming.
Put Other People At Ease=Charming
12. Help others feel more comfortable
A person with a good personality, who performs a simple kindness for someone else is very charming, not to mention very attractive. For example, a charming person might be at a party and notice that one of her friends is off in the corner and obviously uncomfortable. So the charming person will make it a point to go over and talk to her friend, try to include her in whatever social activities are going on. Charming people always know how to put others at ease, regardless of the situation, so look for opportunities to help others feel more comfortable.
An easy one. Charming people consider the feelings and thoughts of other people, period. Charming people never behave rudely, even when the situation gets intense. So be kind, and be more charming.
14. Show vulnerability
Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should spill the beans about your devastating break-up or dire financial situation during a business meeting. That would be an unattractive side of your personality. But you should, when appropriate, let your guard down a little and let people know you’re not perfect. Human beings tend to bond more over failure rather than success, so be a little vulnerable the way most charming people do.
15. Accept compliments
Another tough one for me, but an important quality of charming people: they know how to just shut up and say, “Thank you” when they are complimented. There is a false assumption that if you don’t immediately reject a compliment that you’re immodest or conceited. Don’t worry about that. Charming people just accept a compliment graciously, and move on. You should to. Besides, real compliments have meaning, and you'll be able to see that in the moment.