become charismatic

How To Develop Charisma and Influence People

Last Updated on April, 2023 by Edison

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

But, in reality, influencing 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 influence? 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.

In this article, I share tips and insights to help you become more charismatic and persuasive.

1. Be passionate about something

We all love people who are full of excitement.

We are attracted to them because, deep down, we ALL 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 passion.

How to be passionate about something?

It’s simple.

Dedicate a portion of your time to learning more about your subject.

Read books, watch courses, and apply what you learn.

You can also find someone who’s an expert in your field and offers to work for them for lower pay.

It can be a great decision because you can learn from both his/her successes and failures.

What if I don’t know what I’m passionate about?

Experiment with different fields.

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

2. Be vulnerable

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

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.

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.

They will know how bad you feel. As a result, they will want to help you get rid of the pain.

3. 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 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.

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.

4. Be empathetic

Empathy is the ability to understand what the other person is feeling.

When you show empathy toward someone, you promote trust leading to a more open and genuine conversation.

But how to be empathetic?

Be curious about strangers – Start a conversation with a stranger.

Observe something from the environment and comment on that.

If you are at a bar or some event that someone in particular, you can ask: “What brought you here?” 

We encounter strangers every day. Challenge yourself to have a conversation with a stranger every week.

Challenge your prejudices – We all have heard the phrase: “Don’t judge the book by its cover.”

Well, we do. We make snap judgments about the people we meet. We have formed this ability from our ancestors.

Sometimes, we assume others based on their origin, color, religion, or gender. And trust me on this, these snap opinions are often wrong. Remind yourself of this fact and try to know the person. Who knows, the person you judged now might become your best friend.

6. Self-Discipline

When you indulge in foods, alcohol, cigarettes, gaming, dopamine is released, making you feel good.

In the long term, bad habits and addictions will cause you serious physical and psychological issues.

In the short term, it erodes your confidence.

Here’s why:

Dopamine has a very short effect. And you need to feed it to get the same pleasurable feeling constantly. E.g., Drinking two small glasses of alcohol makes you feel good, and you have a good time at a dinner or party. But when you continue to drink regularly (+2 times/week), those two glasses do not affect you.

The reason is that you have set a new threshold for dopamine to be released. Eventually, you need more and more alcohol to get that same feeling.

It’s a similar process to other substances or activities.

So you don’t have full control over yourself anymore.

Conversely, when you work into developing discipline, another chemical called serotonin will be released.

It is a much more powerful feeling that lasts for a long time and encourages you to continue improving yourself.

When you are disciplined, you send a strong message of tranquility. And that makes you very attractive.

What can you do to strengthen self-discipline?

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

7. 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 what others do for you.

Another way is to shift the conversation about them or their problems.

Listening when people tell you about their issues will make them feel you are sympathetic, understanding, and respectful.

8. Charismatic eye contact

Eye contact is one of the primary ways charismatic people make others feel important.

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We may have difficulties keeping eye contact because of shyness.

Well, you can fix that by practicing soft and warm eye contact with people you already feel comfortable with.

Make a habit of looking people in the eye when conversing.

9. 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 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 others.”

“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 show respect for them and 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.

When you ask someone to do something for you, add the word because and a reason why they should do it.

An interesting study was 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.

10. 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.

What 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 must do right now to improve it.

“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,” or “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.


Just Listen by Mark Goulston

The Charisma Myth by Olivi Cabane

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