How To Develop Unshakable Charisma and Influence People

Some lucky people seem to have a magic touch when it comes to persuading people.

But, in reality, persuading people isn’t magic. It’s an art and a science. And it’s easier than you think.

On any given day, who are you trying to persuade to do something?

The answer is nearly everybody you meet.

Maybe you’re trying to sell a product/idea/service.

Maybe you’re trying to convince someone that you’re the right person for a job or a relationship.

But here’s the challenge:

People have their own needs, desires, and agendas. They are stressed, busy, and insecure. And they make it difficult for you to influence them even if you share the same values.

1. Be passionate about something

We all love people who are full of excitement.

People are drawn to them because, deep down, people want to be passionate about something.

When others see the passion in your eyes, you become more charismatic. It doesn’t mean everyone will like you, but they’ll respect your conviction and your passion.

How to be passionate about something?

You can increase enthusiasm by learning more about your subject.

You cannot be passionate about something if you know nothing about it.

Read books, meet people that can help you learn more, and dedicate your time to becoming a master of that skill.

Believe in yourself and your message.

Experiment with different tasks and topics.

You don’t know whether you like a certain food unless you take a bite.

2. Confidence

In every aspect of life, people want to be led by courageous people.

The people we admire are usually the people who know what they want and have the confidence to get it.

The higher your confidence the more charismatic you are.

The best way to build unshakable confidence is by facing situations that make you uncomfortable.

Many people make the mistake of waiting until they feel confident to do something. Well, it doesn’t work that way.

You need to act and then the fear will diminish.

3. Be Vulnerable

Don’t be afraid of sharing your vulnerabilities. Vulnerability doesn’t make you weak, it makes you accessible.

Know that your vulnerability can be your strength.

Often we think that you can earn respect by never showing weakness.

We try to hide mistakes and cover fear.

People will forgive you and even try to help you if you’re honest about a mistake.

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What makes people angry or disappointed in you is when you do things to avoid telling the truth.

When you’re feeling scared, hurt, or humiliated, but you aren’t honest because you’re afraid of losing another person’s respect, here’s what happens: You don’t feel understood because they can’t understand you. They don’t have a clue about what’s going on with you.

The person whose respect you’re worried about losing (a parent, a boss, a partner) can’t mirror your distress and understand it.

Instead, the person will mirror the attitude you’re using to mask your distress. If you’re using anger to cover up fear, you’ll get angry in return.

When you become vulnerable and find the courage to say, “I’m afraid” or “I don’t know how to go through this”, the other person will mirror your true feelings.

The person will know how bad you feel. As a result, he/she will want to help you get rid of the pain.

4. Force is not charisma

“I would rather try to persuade a man to go along because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Power comes in many forms.

Every organization has some type of authority structure. Written and unwritten rules dictate how people react to power and authority.

Managers always assume they have great power, but usually, they have less than they think.

The ability to reward and punish doesn’t make you charismatic. Understand that authority power is based on how people perceive your knowledge level and expertise.

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This type of authority enables you to influence others. Examples are CEOs and police officers.

People want to be led in the right direction by a competent and knowledgeable person.

If that person is you, then you have the power and charisma.

5. Self-Discipline

When we hear the word self-discipline, our mind goes to all our bad habits.

You can be charismatic without discipline but the lack of it will slowly erode your ability to influence others.

An old saying is that, in life, you will either be disciplined or disappointed.

It’s easy to watch TV instead of reading, to pick fast food instead of eating a healthy diet.

The lack of self-discipline and feeling unmotivated is the exact opposite of how a charismatic person feels.

Discipline is a choice we make because the envisioned future is better than our current condition.

Our purpose in life is bigger than temporary discomfort.

What can you do to strengthen self-discipline?

  • Break your goals into smaller pieces
  • Visualize what you’re going to get rather than what you’re giving up now
  • Make sure your goal is really what you want
  • Prepare yourself mentally that you might have a few setbacks

A perfect example of self-discipline was Thomas Edison.

He tried ten thousand times to develop the electric light bulb. They said he never considered those as failures but as a success- finding things that don’t work.

He was so focused on what he wanted that self-discipline had become a natural part of his life.

6. Respect- Give it to get it

Charisma is all about valuing people. The more respect you give to others, the more influence you have.

Respect doesn’t always come in an instant, sometimes it takes time to build.

A simple way to earn their respect is to be thankful for the things others do for you.

People will always want to talk about one of two things: themselves or their problems.

If you listen when people tell you about their problems or issues, they will feel you are sympathetic, understanding, and respectful.

Treat everyone with respect whether they are the receptionist, the CEO, or the janitor. Ask questions about themselves.

Don’t complain about anything and don’t criticize others for what they say or do.

7. Charismatic phrases

These phrases will help you influence, build rapport, and strengthen relationships with others.

The first phrase is, “One thing I’ve noticed about you”. This is a very powerful phrase because it shows you’ve found time to observe a unique personality feature.   

It is not something that I’m guessing. It is a fact. I have observed and noticed this behavior in you.

“One thing I’ve noticed about you is how comfortable you are with yourself, most people aren’t like that”.

“One thing I’ve noticed about you is that you inspire confidence in other people”.

“The thing I’ve always admired about you is your focus and vision”.

It shows that it’s not something you randomly noticed today. When you use the word admired, you not only show respect for them but also appreciation.

You can also use this phrase when someone is being rough on you.

“The thing I’ve always admired about you is that you say exactly what you mean”.

“You know, one thing I’ve always admired about you Anne is that your communication is so direct and clear”.

Now you’ve diffused all the anger. It is very hard for someone to be mean and unkind to someone who is admired.

Be careful when using this phrase you have to be absolutely sincere about it.

The word because- When you’re asking someone to do something for you add the word because and a reason why should they do it.

There was an interesting study done in 1970 by the psychology professor at Harvard Ellen Langer.

Langer asked her assistant to break in on a line of people waiting to use the Xerox copy machine.

The assistant said: “Excuse me, can I cut the line to make some copies? Only 60% allowed her.

Then she said: “Excuse me, can I cut the line because I need to make some copies? As if other people weren’t waiting to make copies. After just adding the word “because”, 94% of the people let the assistant cut the line.

8. Do you really believe that?

An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper.

Khalil Gibran

People under pressure tend to exaggerate the problem.

They feel like it’s the end of the world.

You can calm down others by just saying “Do you really believe that?” in a very calm and straightforward tone.

Now, typically they will respond with something like, “Well, not really, but I am very frustrated about things”.

Then you can respond, “I understand that, but I need to know what the truth is, because if what you say is totally true then we have a serious problem and need to address it.”

By this time, they’re in retreat and the power has shifted to you.

But if someone answers it with a firm yes?

If a person is brave enough to answer with a yes, and stick to it, then he probably has some legitimate issues.

And you’ll be more productive and happy if you iron those issues out.  Before you worry about solving someone else’s problem, find out if there really is a problem.

9. Be calm in stressful situations

The ability to deal with stressful situations it’s an important key to being a great leader.

Not all personal encounters are stressful. But many are. And these are the ones that can make or break a career or a relationship.

Some of them include:

  • Making a cold call
  • handling an angry customer
  • going on a tough job interview
  • facing a furious lover
  • dealing with an insolent teen.

All of these can affect your emotions to the extent that you can’t think. And when that happens, you lose.

The first and most vital rule about taking control in a stressful situation is:  

Get yourself under control first.

Now, which are the mental steps we go through when dealing with a difficult situation?

Here’s the process:

“Oh F**k” (The reaction phase): What the hell just happened? This is a disaster, I’m screwed. I can’t fix this, it’s all over.

“Oh, God” (The release phase): Oh my God, this is a huge mess and I need to clean this up. Why this stuff always happens to me?

“Oh Well” (The Refocus Stage): I will not let this ruin my life/my career/my day/this relationship. And here is what I need to do right now to make it better.

“OK” (The Reengage Phase): I’m ready to fix this.

The most interesting thing is that even though every crisis seems different to you, your mind treats them all in the same way.

Now, here’s the secret: When you become consciously aware of these stages, you can mentally identify each one.

And you can manipulate your emotional response at each stage. As a result, you can speed up this process.

The power of “Oh f**k”

Do not deny that you’re upset or afraid that you acknowledge the feeling.

We want to go from panic to logic by putting words on what we’re feeling at each stage.

You can do this silently if you’re in a crowd or out loud if you’re alone. Now it’s not the time to lie to yourself by saying, “it’s okay”.

It’s actually the time to say to yourself, “Oh F*ck,”, “I’m pissed,”, “I’m scared that I might lose this job over this,”.

And this is only the first step, so don’t stick in there.

If you’re in a position where you can get away for a minute or two, do so. If not, do not talk to anyone else during these first few seconds.

You need to focus entirely on acknowledging and working up from your anger or panic.

“Oh God” (The Release Phase)

After you admit the powerful emotion, you’re feeling. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose. Keep doing this as long as it takes to let it go.

“Oh Well” (The Refocusing Phase)

Start to think of what you can do to control the damage and make the best of the situation.

“OK” (The Re-engaging Phase)

If you’ve had your eyes closed up to now, open them. Then do what you need to do.

Look, you can’t solve a crisis in two minutes. But you can go through from “panic mode” to “solution mode” faster.

Consequently, you’ll say the right things and avoid saying the wrong ones.

Source: “Just Listen” by Mark Goulston

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