I’ve been studying charisma for many years now. It started once I had been teaching public speaking masterclasses for Guardian Masterclasses for a few years. I realized that, as valuable as public speaking sessions are (and they are!), people aren’t only nervous about speaking in front of groups: many people aren’t comfortable in many social situations. Not everyone in my public speaking masterclasses was looking for ways to apply those learnings on a smaller scale. But many were. They wanted tips and tactics to help them be their best selves, embody self-confidence, make a good impression, and feel self-assured.
So I created a course on charisma. It touches on body language, mental framing, self-knowledge and more. I’ve run it a number of times for the Guardian, both in-person and online. In the research and course design, as well as delivery and through the Q&A’s from participants, I’ve found a few common threads, a few keys to charisma, that are consistent.
So I decided to share a few tips. Not only on how to be more charismatic but on how to make sure you’re rooted in a good place to manifest your own authentic charisma. I did so in this blog post about charisma. It’s quite popular, so I decided to write this one, with a few more tips for you. This isn’t a comprehensive guide to developing your charisma, it’s more like a quick set of action-oriented tips to increase your personal impact.
7 more ways to boost your charisma
- Do cool shit – This is one of my favorite tips, and is actually pretty easy to implement. Just do stuff. Things that you wouldn’t normally. Take an online cooking course on making dumplings, get into embroidery, batik a scarf, try a new recipe… it doesn’t really matter what it is you do, but if you manage to try a few things and explore, it will broaden your frame of reference and give you more access points.
- Practice your passions — This is the corollary to the above. Where you don’t just sample new and interesting and exciting activities that push you out of your comfort zone, but you also take those things that you already do, and channel energy into them. This has similar benefits to the tip above, with the added benefit of giving you increased confidence. According to psychologist Albert Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, improving your abilities in one area has powerful knock-on effects in other areas of your life.
- Actively engage with your experiences – Just turning on a movie and watching it and then shutting it off and going to sleep is a passive activity. Discussing it, reading a review of it after the fact, writing a few notes on it in your journal… these are all things that will turn you from a passive recipient into an active participant in your life. No small feat during lockdown and pandemic, but definitely something worth your time. I mean, you’re watching the movie anyway, right?
- Go easy on yourself – The negativity bias tells us that when things of equal weight occur, we can recall the negative one much more readily. For example, if you give a presentation and one person tells you they absolutely loved it and someone else says, “yeah I didn’t enjoy it. I found you flat.” Which one do you think will pop into your head when you’re trying to sleep that evening? The negative one, of course. This happens to everybody, and the best way to counteract it is to give yourself permission to make mistakes and be less than perfect. Celebrate everything on the road to improvement.
- Just be interested – Instead of chiming in with a job interview story of your own when someone tells you one, why not ask them another question about what they just said. The dreaded ‘just waiting for my turn to talk’ conversation comes from nerves — we don’t want to be caught out with nothing to say! But actually, we don’t have to think up an anecdote or comment and try and hold them in our minds, if we JUST LISTEN TO WHAT THE OTHER PERSON IS SAYING.
- Breathe stretch, meditate – These are great things you can do for your body that also help you be in tune with your mental state, and not just in tune but actually to control your own mental state. so go on, lay down, roll over, breathe in deeply. These are things that can really influence you and give you what you need. So go on.
- Savor the silences – If you’re able to chill in silence it can be very empowering and liberating. This also works in conversation. The most charismatic person is not usually the one interrupting others and jumping to fill silences. Charisma can also be leaving space for people to find the words when they’re struggling, or just generally giving space to others.
These are of course just simple tips. But they’re easy to apply right away, that’s why I like them.
In my masterclass on charisma, I get to go deep into some structural principles behind a more charismatic life and how to enhance your intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. I love being able to share these concepts with other people, and help them get a better sense of who they are.