When you're in the grip of a truly charismatic person, their personal magnetism can seem like magic. How did they make you feel so important? How did they hold your attention so completely? It's easy when we're star struck to think of charisma as some magical X factor certain people are simply born with.
But that's not what science says about charisma. According to a recent article by Stanford's Emma Seppälä for the Greater Good Science Center, "one of the most extensive studies on charisma found that charisma is not so much a gift as a learnable skill."
Which is good news for those hoping to boost their charisma. And apparently, the research even offers further encouragement. The fundamental principle behind exceptional charm is actually dead simple, according to the latest science.
The super simple secret to greater charisma
So what's the straightforward secret to greater charisma? Just be present, claims Seppälä. We find those people who flatter us with their full attention to be the most likeable and charismatic.
"If you meet someone who is completely attentive to you and actively engaged in the conversation, you are much more likely to find them likable and interesting. If that person's cell phone rings without them checking it, they get double brownie points. Why? Because in that moment, the only thing that seems to matter to them is you. You are the most important person there, and they have gifted you all of their attention at that moment," she explains.
This straightforward but powerful insight is pure gold if you'd like to become more likeable as it suggests several easy and practical changes you can make to your behavior today.
- Put your phone away. Research shows a mere glance at your beloved device harms relationships. If you want to come off as charismatic, make sure the person you're talking to never even sees your phone.
- Listen without interrupting. If you talk before the other person finishes, you're telegraphing that you don't truly value what they have to say. Quit interrupting and really listen! (Some experts suggest counting to two before replying to keep your urge to jump in under control.)
- Maintain eye contact. "We intuitively feel that when someone's gaze shifts away from us, their attention has also shifted away from us. And this intuition is backed up by neuroscience research," writes Seppälä. "When you are present and looking someone in the eye, the impact of that connection can be powerful."
Check out the complete post for a handful of additional tips, but remember they all come down to one central truth -- charisma just means being fully present.