Answer by Andy Huang, adventure guide with SF Urban Adventure Club, on Quora:

Charisma is mostly about confidence. So really, this is a question about how to be more confident. There are several easy ways to increase your confidence, or appear to be more confident.

1. Dress well.
How you dress not only affects how people perceive you, it also changes how you feel about yourself. When you are wearing something that you know you look good in, you automatically gain a boost in self confidence that will change how you speak and carry yourself.

Bonus: Wear something that's unique but looks good so it becomes an easy talking point.

2. Make eye contact.
Confidence is often seen through the eyes. A confident person will make direct eye contact with you, and hold it during conversation. However, you don't need to stare into their eyes the entire time, that may appear creepy. Look into their eyes when you start speaking, and occasionally break eye contact to gesture or to think, then reestablish eye contact again after.

3. Smile and laugh more.
When people are speaking to you, they are constantly gauging how interested you are in the conversation by looking at your facial expressions and gestures. An interesting person is someone who is interested in you, so appear to be interested in the other person. An easy way to do that is to smile and to laugh at appropriate times during the conversation. You don't need to smile and laugh the entire time, just when something is amusing or is funny.

4. Ask a good question.
Most people hate small talk but don't know how to get out of it or how to talk about something different. I think the key to a great conversation is asking great questions. A great question is one that you don't have a prepared answer for and have to think about for a while. Some good examples are: if you can only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Would you go on a one-way trip to Mars? If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

You can set up the question by saying, "I just heard this great question from a friend of mine and I'm curious what your answer would be."

These 4 things are super easy to implement, but take practice to master. At first you will feel uncomfortable doing them because they're new behaviors. So focus on one of these skills at a time until it becomes more comfortable and natural. Good luck!

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Published on: Oct 28, 2015