You might think of charisma as something a lucky few are born with, but according to a host of experts, being charming isn't a talent but a set of skills. While some folks are, of course, naturally gifted in this area, if you're not an inherently smooth operator you can teach yourself behaviors and mental tricks that will help you win friends, influence people, and make a strong impression when you walk in a room.
For those looking for a deep dive into the subject, there are long lists of skills to acquire or outlines of multistep training programs to follow, but if you're more interested in simple but powerful changes that you can make today, a recent post on blog Dumb Little Man is for you.
It lists several quick and easy adjustments that just about anybody can make to become more likable, including this ultra-simple gem that nearly everyone could benefit from hearing.
Just count to two
"For a day, pay attention to your day-to-day conversations. Observe how often the person you are talking to cuts you off before you have finished your thought," suggests the post, adding that "you will be surprised to discover that most of the time, people reply to your comments either right before you finish talking, or immediately after."
Having interesting stuff to say is a good thing, though, so why are these quick replies problematic? "Rushing to add your two cents to a conversation communicates a desire to impress the other person. You have something so important, so relevant to what the other was saying that you have to jump in and add your opinion. But rushing your thoughts implies fear that your conversation partner will become disinterested in what you have to say," the post explains.
If you want to come across as more confident and charismatic, it suggests this dead-easy intervention: "Try to count out two seconds in your head before you reply to what people say."
Simply giving a conversation more breathing room can have a couple of powerful effects, according to Dumb Little Man. First, it gives the other person a chance to pause and continue. Often you'll find that when you thought you were responding to your conversation partner, you were really cutting her off. Eliminating this habit communicates a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.
Second, things might get awkward--but only a little -- and that's a good thing. "Because most people immediately jump into their reply, in waiting two seconds you communicate confidence and power. You can wait a couple of seconds to talk because you know that people will listen to what you have to say," the post claims before suggesting that readers test out the technique for 48 hours.
Give this idea a try and let us know how it went in the comments.