Self

How To Ignite Your Charm — And Empower Yourself & Encourage Others To Grow

Photo: Look Studio / Shutterstock —
Charming woman in shades

Charm fascinates and pleases. It attracts others to you. It can spark curiosity that forms the bud of a relationship to bloom for mutual benefit. Then, it’s up to you to take the next step with your own version of charm. 

All that involves simply showing sincere interest in people.  

Yet, this alone will not ensure others will take an interest in you nor change their behavior toward you. Only you can modify or change your own behavior. Your choices and influence lie in your action.  

RELATED: 7 Things Highly Charming, Charismatic Women Do Way Differently

How to manifest your charm

Your step forward to connect with others starts by focusing first on others’ interests and concerns. 

If you don’t get clues and cues from the situation or context, one question could be: "What are your interests?"

If you have some intuition from what you’ve already learned about the person, ask: "What do you think about _____?"

As you reach out with sincerity, you may find common links or at least leads to develop a conversation.  

In turn, responses can strengthen your confidence and provide comfort in conversation.   

What's basic to being charming and showing your interest in others is taking it further by moving beyond asking questions. Show understanding with accurate paraphrasing, relevant feedback, and attending to emotions.

Curiosity that doesn't intrude in others’ privacy contributes to the process. Without excursions into "that also happened to me," willingness to share relevant aspects of yourself builds on the foundation for empathy.  

Maybe your experience, habits, and confidence do not yet encourage such outreach.  

If so, ask yourself what keeps you from showing interest. For example, you might focus on how you are being received or compared to the other person. Then your energy stays within you, dissipated by distractions.  

If you're a little shy, consider the worst thing that would happen if you asked a thoughtful question.  

Are you intimidated by an individual, group, or situation? I imagine the person taking a shower, what I could contribute to a group, an adventure into a possibly promising unknown. 

I've been occasionally rudely treated when reaching out. I then moved on, recognizing what that said about their limitations.

RELATED: 6 Communication Tips The Most Alluring, Charismatic People Know

If you're lacking some confidence or are inexperienced in reaching out in certain circumstances, take small steps or low-risk actions over time to strengthen yourself.

Are you unappreciative of what makes you interesting and appealing?

With experience, self-awareness, and a sense of humor, you’ll make progress, however slow or nonlinear. 

Create a mutual appreciation pact with someone whose judgment you trust, telling each other specific favorable qualities with examples.

Perhaps there’s another reason why you retreat into yourself rather than focus on the other person or people.

Whatever it is, park that constraint on the side of your path forward for now.

Instead, consider who is in front of you, identifying any of the following:

  • What are their needs and concerns?
  • What could be on their mind now?
  • How are they feeling?
  • What are their challenges or fears?
  • How could you entertain them or help put them at ease?

Since you may not be able to penetrate people’s masks entirely nor should you always try, use your imagination. Note their tone of voice and body language as well as how they present themselves.  

See what comes to mind by bringing together whatever you know about them with the empathy you muster. While you can’t or may not even want to become a scintillating babe (male or female) overnight, continue paying attention to others.  

Here are some other ways to get through situations that don’t flow easily.

1. Get comfortable with some silence.

Say, up to five seconds. That allows the other person to gather their thoughts and come forward.

2. Let your positive emotions shine through your eyes. 

Speak also through other body language and tone of voice, accentuating the message of energy, enthusiasm, and interest you want to send.

3. Praise others.

Find ways to praise people sincerely, specifically, and accurately.

4. Apply what you have learned from observing other appealing people in person.

Notice people in TV, movies, and photographs so you can learn how they make the most of themselves.

You’ll see that often sex appeal and other attractive qualities are more a matter of energy, self-presentation, and confidence than intrinsic good looks. Some call that charisma. 

5. Explore subjects and situations beyond your immediate world.

This way, you can converse about a broader range of matters that could interest others. 

Sometimes, that’s just a matter of reading another newspaper or some different magazines, listening to a variety of podcasts, or joining a few listservs that intrigue you.

Worse case situation: You can choose ways to leave a difficult or unpromising situation. 

RELATED: 7 Social Skills The Most Charismatic People Have Perfected

Final suggestions about self-presentation.  

Certainly, appearance contributes to your charm.

Do your clothes flatter? How do you show your flair and originality? Does your hairstyle enhance your appearance?

How can you improve your health? If you don’t already do so, consider some interesting, regular exercising and drinking enough water, as well as whatever shifts to a healthy diet, make sense for you.

What other attractive qualities do you have or can you enhance? Check any that apply below and add your own.  

Capacities:

___ Unique experiences and skills

___ Knowledge

___ Intelligence

___ Insight and intuition

___ Imagination and creativity

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Attitudes and attributes:

___ Sense of humor or wit

___ Attitude of hope or optimism

___ Resilience

___ Tact and sensitivity

___ Good taste

And, perhaps, the always accessible:

___ Good posture

___ Attractive, sincere smile

If you’re not clear about your strengths or possibly how you want to improve yourself, request feedback. Reach out to a few people you trust who have insight and good judgment. 

Ask them about your positive qualities and other worthwhile characteristics as well as one or two aspects of yourself to consider improving. 

For continuing fun, you might have a mutual appreciation exchange. Get the most from this communication by being specific, accurate, and supportive. Then, the information can be heard without defensiveness and is actionable.

Integration: To keep moving forward, accept you don’t have to be conventionally handsome or beautiful, brilliant or successful. Nor should you put too much energy into charming others at your own expense. 

But you can create and build on your unique appeal that’s authentic and attractive. Reinforce that by choosing opportunities for getting to know people who are appealing or at least seem interesting.

Whatever your reservations or attitude, act "as if" you're fine as you are and are interested in the other person.  

That’s an old philosophy from an 1877 dissertation by Hans Vaihinger that I found accidentally in the library stacks. I was snooping beyond my own dissertation topic on how people discover their capacity for courage.

Decide now on how you will use your insight, skills, and actions to be charming and caring by experimenting with one or two ideas from this article. 

Elicit interest in others by showing your interest in them rather than being concerned about how you do or don’t "measure up." Then you’ll be more likely to present your best self too.

RELATED: 3 Noble Qualities The Most Genuinely Nice People Always Have

Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. She guides clients in accessing their strengths and making viable visions for current and future work. Request the first chapter of her seventh book Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future and benefit from your invitation to a free consultation on her website.

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