One of my goals this year is to be in the moment. Too often, we think so far in the future we forget to enjoy the present. While this can affect us in a variety of ways, one of the most clear is that we lose our charisma. When people feel ignored, or that you are only half listening to them, coming off as charming is impossible.
While there are many tips on how to look and talk like you have great social skills, the most important part to focus on is your mental state. To improve the connection between your brain and body, I've listed three exercises for you to practice. If you follow this advice, you'll have no problem generating great conversations and relationships.
1. Be present in the conversation
As humans, we hate uncertainty. In fact, surveys show that most of us would rather hear bad news than not know the outcome. Think about the one time you fell head over heels for someone. All of a sudden, he or she stops returning your calls and texts. You think it could be over, but you're unsure. What happens? You hold on to that uncertainty for days or weeks. People take notice, and your other relationships are affected. Uncertainty causes you to be unable to focus on the present.
To fix this, take note when your mind starts drifting away during a conversation you are having with someone. While you may think he or she won't notice, most times you'll be wrong. If you phase out for too long, your body expressions will start responding late to what the other person is saying. This will destroy your charisma.
To prevent this, as soon as you start drifting off, focus on your breathing. After your mind comes back, start paying attention again to what the other person is saying. Another technique is to get your mind to focus on the feelings in your toes. This will allow you to pull your mind to one spot, making it easier for you to then shift your attention back to the conversation at hand.
2. Lighten Your Load
Being highly stressed is an awful way to show off your social skills. Some people love telling us how busy they are and how big of a rush they are in. While this may buy them short-term attention, the one who remains cool and collected will win in the long run. People want to be with others who make them feel relaxed, not worried.
To get yourself into this state, before meeting someone do the following exercise: Take five minutes, sit down, and imagine all the things that are causing you stress. Now picture yourself letting go of all those tasks and putting them on the shoulders of someone else. It could be the Universe, a god you believe in, even your best friend. While this sounds easy, you'll be surprised at how much better you feel. When I do this before presentations, it feels like a weight has been lifted off of my chest. Go into your next networking event with this state of mind, and you'll encourage all the people you meet to let their guard down.
3. Make the Other Person Feel Like a Star
Amateurs do a good job at making themselves look smart. But people with exceptional social skills make other people the stars. When you talk to someone, an easy way to tell you're trying too hard is when you brag about yourself. This is where insecurity shines through. Instead, focus more on making the person you're speaking with feel good.
This comes through practice. You must find the balance between charm and sucking up. But once you do get the right mix, people will gravitate to you. You'll be a dynamic speaker, and be able to work the room like never before. Just remember, your success is based how great you can make others feel.