Science-Backed Ways To Increase Charisma

Charisma is not something you’re born with, it’s something you develop by embracing your own unique qualities and connecting with others on a deeper level” – Richard Branson

My son talks about having the Rizz. It makes me feel old that I had to ask him what it meant. Ever heard the Gen-Z slang, Rizz? The last year was all about rizz, an internet slang word for Charisma. Charisma is the quality to charm or fascinate other people in turn gaining their attention and identify with you. While the contemporary buzz around the word might put it in a rather frivolous light, charisma is an important life skill.

Unlike Rizz (focused on one’s ability to charm the opposite gender), Charisma does not imply being the best known person at school or being the most popular person in the room but someone who is able to get along with people, communicate what they have on their minds effectively, and in the process gather support from other people. To make the most out of our experiences, both professional and personal, one is bound to interact with people – Charisma makes the process easier.

The most potent traits of a charismatic person have been most described as someone who maintains a balance of two qualities: competence and warmth. If someone is good at what they do and at the same time exude warmth making people feel good about “themselves”, people are often drawn to them. Charisma has long been understood as a natural gift often associated with conventionally attractive or wealthy people but as I mentioned earlier, Charisma is a life skill, and can be learnt.

Today’s article offers a number of Science-Backed ways to increase Charisma:

1.Embrace Imperfections

Charisma is not about being the most perfect, smart, or beautiful person in the room. Rather, it is more about a mixture of sincere effort, self-awareness, and an element of relatability with other people. People who come across as being perfect at first might catch our attention but can seldom hold it for long. True Charisma requires inner character, and tend to be people who have developed the ability to connect with others.

Charisma has different flavours; it does not have to look the same for everyone. A person who is extroverted and loud could also be charismatic but simultaneously, someone who has is quiet and focused could also be powerfully appealing. Hence, one should never compromise one’s authentic self to be noticed by others but be so comfortable with oneself that when they meet people, they meet them with a curious, outward energy not too focused on their own insecurity, creating connection and a sincere bond.

2.Avoid Conversational Narcissism

Ever heard a person just talk about themselves? Well, that’s called Conversational Narcissism. No matter how exciting a person’s life might be, no other person would willingly want to continuously hear about some other person’s life without feeling included or being asked about their life. To follow this up with a little anecdote,

when Paul Annacone, the former coach of Roger Federer, was asked about what makes Federer so charismatic and such a big star, he answered, “Roger Federer is interesting because he is interested” implying that even such a big star like him tended to show genuine interest in people. Similarly, Shahrukh Khan, a popular film star is known for being charming because he makes people feel like they are the centre of the world when they talk to him. Hence, a quick way to become more charismatic is take genuine interest in other people, ask them questions, and try to talk about oneself as less as one can.

3.Quit Speaking Negatively Of Others

Research shows that when a person talks ill about another person, the people

listening unconsciously begin to associate the same traits with them as well. This phenomenon is known as The Spontaneous Trait Transference whereby we associate the traits of a person being talked about with the person narrating them. Contrary to this, when we make it a practice to see the good in others and verbalise that when we sit with other people, not only do we come across as someone who is secure and appreciative of other people, but the person listening to us subconsciously starts conflating the same positive traits with us as well even if we might not possess them to a very high degree. So many traditions discourage backbiting for different reasons, but scientifically one of the most important reasons for this is that it repels people away from us, often putting us in a dull light.

4.Use Your Hands

Using Hand gestures have been proven to evoke a sense of safety in other people. When we use our hands effectively while narrating a story, not only do we engage the listener well, but we make them feel safe in our presence. This is because when our hands are folded, hidden, or are at the back, our brains do not react as well perceiving the other person and cold and reserved whereas when one uses free hand movement, we feel like the other person is present and involved in the conversation making us value the conversation even more.

5.Make Eye Contact

Research shows that something as small as gazing deeply into another person while

talking to them coupled with a smile and nods of acknowledgement can have a magical impact on people. Fragmented eye-contact can imply two things that a charismatic person would always want to stay away from: disinterest and insecurity. If someone fails to maintain eye contact with you for instance, you will mostly interpret that social cue as them being disinterested and just a little zoned out.

Similarly, one could also gauge this as a lack of confidence. If someone is jittery or unable to maintain conversation, often the other person feels burdened to take the responsibility of the entire conversation instead of being able to casually enjoy back and forth banter.

This might put the other person off and make them quit the conversation. The opposite however, of course, has the right kind of effect luring even a person tired or at first disinterested in talking to you into the conversation.

Good eye-contact or deep gazing as they call it can have a powerful impact on people making them feel seen, heard, and special; hence, increasing the potential influence of what you are trying to communicate on them. Think of this in the context of public speaking.

While giving a speech, people who gaze freely around the room and look into peoples’ eyes are mostly the ones who win the audience’s appreciation even if they might not agree with the person compared to someone who is maintaining poor eye contact either looking down the entire time or just looking in one direction.

6.Be A Good Listener

Everyone loves talking and needs a good ear to listen. People go through a lot and are desperate to have someone to listen to them. When you become that person, you fill a remarkable place in their life. Good listening is a mixture of many small steps. The first one is to ensure that you are giving the other person your full undivided attention. If you are someone who is fidgety or on your phone while someone is talking, well, that’s a big NO.

This has to be accompanied with accurate, congruent non-verbal communication like eye contact and nodding, deep reflection on what the other person is saying and retaining the information and in cases of having a conversation with someone you already know also comparing it to the information they have given you before. This can be followed by asking meaningful questions and giving your own input but if the conversation is about an especially painful or heavy topic, it would be wise to ask the person if they just wanted to vent their feelings out or wanted someone’s else input as well. Take their consent as a go ahead.

7.Be More Empathetic

Empathy is perhaps at the heart of most charismatic people. Empathy is an understanding and awareness of other peoples’ lives, concerns, and problems. Someone who is unattuned with other peoples’ emotions is life always tends to say something tone-deaf and off-putting. Being helpful, kind, and offering compassion are prerequisites to being someone with an impact on people. This might make you wonder then why some people who are outrightly rude and standoffish are sometimes so successful and able to garner other people’s support (think of rude celebrities or politicians, or even your ill-tempered boss!) – this can be categorised as popularity but never charisma.

People who rude usually have a polarizing effect on people whereby while some people might want to stick around them for several reasons, people overall never have true appreciation for how they make them, and other people feel. Emotionally intelligent people can often see through these people’s lack of empathy and seldom associate with them.

Read this article for more on this topic: 8 Scientific Ways to Increase & Improve Empathy.

8.Ask Rhetorical Questions

A charismatic person is always rich in imagination, always curious and in a state of wonder. This person wonders about different aspects of the world and tries to get to the root of things without seeking a solid answer. Hence, when a person like this uses the same trick on people and asks them rhetorical questions, this person entices the other person to think about something more deeply. This makes the other person feel excited and drawn to think; hence, creating a sort of magnetic effect on the other person as they have been forced to enter a state of wonder.

9.Maintain A Positive Body Language

Posture is key! A person has poor body posture, like sunken shoulders, or a rude expression all repel people. In contrast, when someone makes an effort in the way they dress, maintain good hygiene, and welcome people with warmth and positivity standing tall and firm, it exudes a sense of familiarity and trust which attracts people towards you. Being open and having a genuine smile contribute greatly too.

More on this here: The Physical & Psychological Benefits of Smiling.

10. Practice Social Skills

While new research has shed so much light on the power of quiet, the depth in introversion, one cannot completely deny the social aspect of living. Especially, in the context of urban professional life, universities and office spaces have been built to reward extroverted behavior. There is so much emphasis on delivering presentations, talking in classrooms, and networking that one has to engage in conversation no matter how much depth one’s mind possesses. Professional recruiters are on the lookout for people who can “sell” their skills. Hence, to become a person who is capable of achieving anything you want in life and have other people on board with your ideas, one must learn social skills through consistent practice. Learning how to talk to people might come naturally to some people but it is a skill that can be harboured.

We need less posturing and more genuine charisma. Charisma was originally a religious term, meaning ‘of the spirit’ or ‘inspired.’ It’s about letting God’s light shine through us. It’s about a sparkle in people that money can’t buy. It’s an invisible energy with visible effects. To let go, to just love, is not to fade into the wallpaper. Quite the contrary, it’s when we truly become bright. We’re letting our own light shine.” – Marianne Williamson

Final Word

In conclusion, being social beings, it is important for all of us to know how to garner cooperation from other people when required. Mastering the art of being able to do so is known as charisma. Charisma however should never be confused with being liked by other people, people could dislike or disagree with us but still be forced to engage with us and pay attention to what we are saying. Charisma is the quality of building inherent confidence and knowing how to express it in the presence of people blending together competency and warmth. A test of charisma is one’s ability to build connection. This skill can be learnt by anyone through some simple approaches backed by science.


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