Years ago, before Google and Bing, I used Yahoo! Search. And as part of the ecosystem, I read their news too. This tradition has continued today. When I have time, I check NYTimes Cover Page, Most Popular Section (saving them to GetPocket.com and thereby subverting the 10 article limit), anything my facebook friends link to and then, Yahoo! News. I know, I should've gone with Sarah Palin's "I read everything" and left your image of me intact, but there we go. I love the dating advice, ignore the sports stories, and get a kick out of seeing Tom Cruise every once in a while.|
Today though, a facebook friend linked me to a Yahoo! article that I really liked. The 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People. Now while I find this numerical article writing system catchy perhaps at the expense of content, I still fell for it. My comments/emphasis in italics.
1. They listen way more than they talk.
Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile. Frown. Nod. Respond--not so much verbally, but nonverbally.
That's all it takes to show the other person they're important.
Then when you do speak, don't offer advice unless you're asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because when you offer advice in most cases you make the conversation about you, not them.
Don't believe me? Who is "Here's what I would do..." about: you or the other person?
Only speak when you have something important to say--and always define important as what matters to the other person, not to you.This is so true and it so deserves to be #1. I always used to say I genuinely like to listen to people. From content, to turns of phrases, to simple word choice (which I'm constantly high fiving people over), I do like to listen to people. And although sometimes I complain strangers open up to me for no particular reason, I do so in jest. And I guess if the world has forgotten how to listen, then it makes sense that just somebody listening would inspire others to open up so much. Give others a chance to relieve their pressures, just listen (whoops, unsolicited advice, not charismatic Janet!)
2. They don't practice selective hearing. All people are important, self-explanatory.
3. They put their stuff away.
Don't check your phone. Don't glance at your monitor. Don't focus on anything else, even for a moment.
You can never connect with others if you're busy connecting with your stuff, too.
Give the gift of your full attention. That's a gift few people give. That gift alone will make others want to be around you and remember you.Again like #1, why is this something special? Of course if you are listening to somebody you should be giving them your full attention. Of course whoever is on your phone can wait. Because, get this, they are not there!
4. They give before they receive--and often they never receive.
Never think about what you can get. Focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.
Focus, even in part and even for a moment, on what you can get out of the other person, and you show that the only person who really matters is you.This Christmas I had to work. In the morning, the non-profit I work for gave out basic gifts of hygiene products and clothes to hundreds of children held in Juvenile Hall. Because it is a maximum security facility, their families (if they had any), have strict visiting schedules. It felt amazing to give on a day most people are thinking of receiving. I just recently watched Money Can Buy You Happiness If You Spend It On Others. How incredible! And for those I've taken more than I have received- thank you and thank you again.
5. They don't act self-important…
Unless it's a joke, which is one of my favorites. I am one of the most pretentious people you know in all things that don't matter (e.g. Violinist are more talented than Violists).
6. …Because they realize other people are more important.
You already know what you know. You know your opinions. You know your perspectives and points of view.
That stuff isn't important, because it's already yours. You can't learn anything from yourself.
But you don't know what other people know, and everyone, no matter who they are, knows things you don't know.
That makes them a lot more important than you--because they're people you can learn from.
Recently I was talking about politics with my friends, who have many of the same opinions as I had (we are friends after all). As we sat around quoting news articles from newspapers we all read I realized, this is just an excuse to pat each other on our backs. You really can't learn anything from talking about yourself or people like yourself all the time. Other opinions, even if you don't agree with them, are important.
7. They shine the spotlight on others.
No one receives enough praise. No one. Tell people what they did well.
Wait, you say you don't know what they did well?
Shame on you--it's your job to know. It's your job to find out ahead of time.
Not only will people appreciate your praise, they'll appreciate the fact you care enough to pay attention to what they're doing.
Then they'll feel a little more accomplished and a lot more important.
My parents are from Taiwan and I was raised without a lot of praise. If they weren't harping on me, that was good news. It worked out for me, but it also means I find it hard to give praise. I vow to get this one down.
8. They choose their words.
The words you use impact the attitude of others.
For example, you don't have to go to a meeting; you get to go meet with other people. You don't have to create a presentation for a new client; you get to share cool stuff with other people. You don't have to go to the gym; you get to work out and improve your health and fitness.
We all want to associate with happy, enthusiastic, fulfilled people. The words you choose can help other people feel better about themselves--and make you feel better about yourself, too.
I don't know when I became a grown up, but associating with other grown ups sometimes feels like a big attempt to sound the most busy. As a result, we often are complaining about stupid meetings, stupid people, stupid projects, stupid project managers, blah blah blah. Somehow, over time, I adopted this attitude too. And it's amazing how a room can fall silent when you start being that person who is a complainer. And guess what I did instead of being happy and enthusiastic- I complained more! To more silence. Time to revise my act.
9. They don't discuss the failings of others...
Granted, we all like hearing a little gossip. We all like hearing a little dirt.
The problem is, we don't necessarily like--and we definitely don't respect--the people who dish that dirt.
Don't laugh at other people. When you do, the people around you wonder if you sometimes laugh at them.
There is one friend in particular who I find hilarious and it is because we both like to gossip. Oh everybody says they don't, but it turns out, there are entire industries built around gossip (tabloids anyone?). But it's so true, the problem with gossip is it makes you wonder if you in turn are gossiped about. And that is not a good feeling, it does not inspire trust
10. ...But they readily admit their failings.
Incredibly successful people are often assumed to have charisma simply because they're successful. Their success seems to create a halo effect, almost like a glow.
The keyword is seem.
You don't have to be incredibly successful to be remarkably charismatic. Scratch the shiny surface, and many successful people have all the charisma of a rock.
But you do have to be incredibly genuine to be remarkably charismatic.
Be humble. Share your screwups. Admit your mistakes. Be the cautionary tale. And laugh at yourself.
While you should never laugh at other people, you should always laugh at yourself.
People won't laugh at you. People will laugh laugh with you.
They'll like you better for it--and they'll want to be around you a lot more.
For a long time I was in the closet because being gay made me different and I was taught it was shameful. So I hid my first girlfriend and didn't come out until my second one forced me to. I lost a lot of friends this way because I didn't share with them a huge part of my life. I didn't share people who were so important to me and I didn't rely on others through a difficult time for myself. But one day I realized I wasn't being fair to my friends. I was putting up a pretense of being perfectly successful when I was desperately worried about the impact my sexual orientation would have on my career, family, and friendships. As it turned out, they didn't laugh at me and most of them accepted me for who I was (in fact, sometimes I wish they made a bigger deal since it took me so long to figure it out for myself!). All my life people have told me I'm an incredibly genuine person. I am proud to be that person again. And I am happy to be able to share myself with others.
So there you are, be honest and true. Listen to others. Laugh at yourself. And then, someday without any intentions of being charismatic, you'll get people asking you how to be so.