A charming personality can easily win many battles, from job interviews to Presidential elections!!
Industrial psychology provides volumes of evidence on how likability affects decision making. In this article, I am going to break down the mechanics behind it from various angles.
Yes, some people are born charming. But it can be learned as well. I did and taught many.
When I first came to the United States, my English was hardly understandable due to my thick accent. The first month I didn’t have any friends besides my roommate. In 6 months I was giving speeches all over campus and got elected by the student body to a prime position in the student government. I graduated as one of the most influential students on campus with more than 25 awards to my name.
I was an introvert and I still am, but I have learned the art of charming people from a podium and in person. My success over-time has helped me get better at it. I continue to learn, make mistakes and learn some more.
Psychology of attraction
Attraction isn’t only about looks. Of course, we can be physically attracted to someone, but we are more often drawn to their confidence, passion and personality.
We are attracted to what gratifies our mind and senses. Just like a slice of pizza attracts the tongue (sense) and the thought of eating it (mind) make us salivate. Same applies for attractive, likable or charming people :-)
It is the mind where the processing of likes & dislikes takes place.
So appealing to the mind is winning 70% of the battle. The rest can be taken care of by nice clothes and other externals that appeal to the senses. These are discussed further down.
So, what attracts the mind?
The mind is the repository of all our thoughts and desires. People are different, but when it comes to the root of desires, we are seeking the same pleasures – recognition, power, control, respect and most importantly the desire to be wanted and loved.
Look at these as ingredients, which combined in various proportions can create tasty recipes to satisfy the mind’s appetite.
Think about this – why is money attractive? It can buy you the social status dish cooked with ingredients of honor, recognition and influence. It attracts friends and other forms of loving relationships, which can be an entree by itself.
A charming person feeds these exact desires of the mind and instantly becomes likable.
Charming = Attractive to Mind + Senses
Personality is attractive to the Mind.
Physical appearance, clothes, fragrance and voice cater to the Senses.
Personality is thoughts expressed through body language and words.
Open Body Language
A charming person will never try to establish his/her self importance. Be careful to make sure the “meeting” doesn’t become more about you than it is about the other person — no one likes that.
A very nice example of body language can be learned from the historic meeting of Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela. Watch how Nelson Mandela greets Bill Clinton.
Clinton takes a step forward (avoiding the “you must come to me” power move); Mandela steps forward with a smile and bends slightly forward as if, ever so slightly, to bow (a clear sign of respect in nearly every culture); Clinton does the same. What you have are two important people who put aside all sense of self-importance or status. They’re genuine.
Next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that you’re the one who is honored by the introduction–not them. Thereby you are feeding their mind with the delicacy of honor.
We all like people who like us.
Here are some body language tips that will quadruple your attractive quotient:
- Body language research has shown that keeping your torso, chest and abdomen open to the world is inviting to others. Crossed arms, clutching a wine glass in front of your stomach, checking a phone in front of your chest or hugging a purse to your center are all ways we close our body language and seem uninviting.
- We love to see people’s hands. Studies have found that when we can’t see people’s hands we have trouble trusting them. When you put your hands in your pockets, tuck them under the table or hide them behind a coat, you’re attractiveness decreases because subconsciously people feel they can’t open up to you.
- Keep your toes pointed towards the person speaking. I know this seems silly but our brains pick up on people’s foot direction and use it to gauge interest. As you are listening to someone, you can make them feel valued by keeping your toes and torso pointed at them as they speak. It’s kind of like nonverbally telling them, “I’m with you! I hear you! Keep going!” And that is the best compliment you can give someone.
- Use a triple nod. Studies have shown that people will speak 3 to 4 times longer if you do three slow nods in a row when they have finished speaking. You end up having a much deeper conversation this way. (And if they don’t it’s no big deal, just take a sip of your drink and ask your next question).
Be Verbally Attractive
It doesn’t take much to bring out the best in other people. Too much flattery can be insincere and ineffectual. A few well-phrased words can go a remarkable distance in creating powerful attraction.
Learn to genuinely become fascinated by the other person’s interests, experiences and achievements. This is a trait that people find simply irresistible.
Successful communication happens when people share equally about what is interesting and exciting to them. It entails learning more about what the other person thinks and seeking additional information about other people’s points of view. So ask open-ended questions. Ask why and how more than what and when.
Charming people sincerely want to know what you think, and that makes you open up to a surprising degree. You feel like the most interesting man (or woman) in the world.
And you like them for making you feel that way.
A charming smile can be a killer. Practice your best smile in front of a mirror and then use it in your interactions.
Smiling with purposeful eye contact conveys that you are friendly, open minded and ready to talk. Smiling can do wonders even over the phone…
I had a job as a student to call wealthy alumni and ask them for donations to our university. This is where I was taught to smile when I am speaking over the phone. It does make a difference to the tone and in my case the success rate of getting a donation commitment was 4 times more after I learned this trick.
You know how some people you might go out with who are really nice to you, yet dismissive of the server? That’s the server test.
Our actions over time (especially when we think no one is looking) earn us our reputation. Likable people are more likable when they treat everyone consistently adding substance to their already likable nature.
Selectively use the Power of Touch.
Nonsexual touch can be incredibly powerful. (I’m aware that sexual touch can be powerful too.) Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly, and can even help you make a sale.
For example, in one experiment the participants tried to convey twelve different emotions by touching another blindfolded participant on the forearm. The rate of accuracy for perceiving emotions like fear, anger, gratitude, sympathy, love, and disgust ranged from 43 percent to 83 percent — without a word being spoken.
Look Appropriate to the Setting
Be aware of your self and those around you. Be the best dressed person in the room in a way that is appropriate to the setting of the scene.
And no, you don’t need to be rich to afford good clothes.
Spend Smart! Instead of buying 10 cheap sets of clothing, buy 2 name brands and 3 designer sets from Amazon. Amazon sells them for real cheap (especially designer clothes made in Thailand) and they just make you look great!
I urge you to try at least three new things that you learned from this post and keep me posted as you witness your day to day interactions transform. Send me note when you get your next promotion or find the love of your life!! It will inspire me to continue writing more on these topics.
You are also welcome to get in touch with me individually with your questions.