Charm comes from a combination of self-confidence, social graces and empathy.
Ever wondered how con artists can get away with all they do? They know how to charm people, and they have mastered the art of looking as if they belong. Because they have no feelings of guilt about misrepresenting themselves, they can pull it off. But you don't have to be dishonest and manipulative to be charming. You can use the power of charm to create a charmed life for yourself, and be perfectly honest, kind and caring while doing it.
Charm comes from a combination of self-confidence, social graces and empathy, or emotional intelligence. People who are at ease (self-confidence), polite and socially adept, as well as (social graces) understanding and considerate (emotional intelligence) are always charming and attractive.
To get what you want, you need to feel special and act that way. The more you respect yourself, the more others will respect you. Make sure you present yourself well, dress and act the part. Accept favors and compliments gracefully, with thanks. Don't worry about whether you deserve the compliment—if someone says something nice, and you think you don't deserve it; If you worry about it or make a fuss, you're effectively calling that person a liar, which is not charming at all. If you make requests as if you expect to get a "yes," it ups the odds that you'll get one.
If you want good service in a restaurant, be pleasant and charming to the server, leave a good tip, and frequent the same place often. Once you're known as a regular and a pleasant customer, you will be treated royally. Gratitude for kindness begets more kindness. Nothing works better than a pleasant "thank you so much" to make the kind person feel appreciated, and wanting to give you more. If you want to be well-treated and well thought of, graciousness and poise are the key. When you feel that someone is not treating you well, you don't have to say anything—just withdraw. If someone's not listening, pause in your conversation, until you have your listener's full attention.
The easiest way to get what you want is to make a pleasant request, and deliver it with a big smile and a warm look. "Please" is very important, and so is a gracious smile, eye contact, and a warm "thank you" when the request is met. Everyone melts at this. To see how charm works, watch actors and actresses in movies—they use it a lot. It's not really sexual; it's more gracious and complimentary, but it often leads to romance, even in real life.
Try observing people (real people you know, strangers, or even movie characters) who personify confidence, and then go home and practice it in the mirror, until you think you've got it. Self-talk is important—practice being encouraging and supportive to yourself. If you are internally critical, you'll lack confidence. Try "faking it til you make it" and projecting an air of self-confidence. It will grow on you.
The Downside of Charm
Although being charming will smooth out your social situations, it must be based on a respect to be beneficial. Charm without respect is not a good sign. Narcissists, for example, have learned to be charming to get what they want, but they have no means to give back, so they are attractive and seductive, but ultimately draining and terribly disappointing.
If a person is not at all nervous, awkward, and never at a loss for words, you may be very impressed. Such a polished approach is very attractive and pleasant to be around. However, there could be a down side to this smoothness. It can mean that you're talking to a "user" who has learned to say what works to get what he or she wants, but has no moral/ethical compass, so may be lying and conning you. Con artists are very good at being charming. People who have an innate need to be truthful may not always succeed at being charming. So, when you encounter another charming person, make sure the walk matches the talk, and that the charm is part of that person's character, and not just employed to get something.
It's no surprise that awkwardness, fear and embarrassment arise from a poor self-image. To overcome this problem, recognize that you're not going to please everyone, and that sometimes you'll be disappointed, but it won't kill you. Practice taking "no" for an answer, first in private, then ask a friend to role play with you (the friend turns you down, refuses your raise, etc. so you can practice dealing with it), and then take some baby steps in the real world. When you're in a new, nervous situation, don't use alcohol for false courage. You may survive being tipsy, but if you really want to be seen as charming and attractive, you won't allow yourself to behave badly.
Instead, practice before you get into the new situation. In "It Ends With You", I recommend the "roll the tape" exercise: picture yourself taking the risk, and watch the scene play out. "Re- roll the tape" several times, and go through the scene again. Practice some different responses and different approaches until you feel comfortable with it. Then, you can try it in the real world.
To enhance your positive experience, do the following steps before any new activity:
- Make a mental note of the possibilities: Can you learn something there? Can you meet a new friend? Will just getting out of the house and around new people feel good?
- Remind yourself of your goals: You're going there to make new friends and to have fun.
- Review your positive personal qualities: What do your friends like about you? What do you like about you? Your intelligence, your sense of humor, your style, your conversation skills? Are you a kind and caring person? Reminding yourself of these qualities means you will enter the event radiating that positive energy.
Research shows that people who have a positive outlook have better lives, partly because a positive attitude is attractive and charming, and people are drawn to it. As a result, you make friends. When you are positive, you are supportive of yourself and others; you notice the good things more than the bad things, which makes it easier to connect to others. In addition, you feel much better about yourself, which means you feel more deserving of friends. It's a positive spiral, and goes up and up.
Guidelines for being charming in public:
1. Be Interesting: Wear attractive, but interesting, clothing — something that reflects who you are. If you like travel, for example, wear a shirt, scarf, tie or jewelry from another country, or wear something that reflects your ethnic background, or a hobby (sports, the outdoors, a Hawaiian-type shirt with surfboards, gardening implements or an animal print). It will help start conversations. Keep reading...
This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission from the author.