What can I do within a month to become more charismatic? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I spent about 4-5 months working on charisma and inner confidence. These are the techniques I used during my first 30 days, which is where I saw the biggest immediate gains.
Week 1: Wear only what sparks joy
I hired a stylist, who came up with more perfect outfits that looked amazing and felt like me in two hours than I ever found in two years, all within my budget.
If you're confident enough in your style to not want a stylist, though, then this is the main principle to follow: wear only what sparks joy.
There are 3 main reasons for this:
- The slightest bit of discomfort (whether physical or emotional) will kill your charisma. You'll feel uncomfortable, which gets in the way of charisma. Also, if your clothes make you fidget or feel itchy, people will notice your discomfort and they'll think that you're uncomfortable with them.
- Wearing only what's comfortable and makes you feel amazing will, well, make you exhibit amazingness. It's also a great confidence booster and can help kickstart your inner confidence.
- Making an incredible first impression starts in part with style.
Week 2: Hold eye contact longer
Everywhere you go, while you're walking around, practice holding eye contact with people for half a second longer than you normally would. For a real challenge, let yourself be the last person to look away. In conversations, try to maintain steady eye contact as much as possible.
There's an art to eye gaze--you don't want to stare so intently that you seem weird, or stare at people in a creepy way. So you may need to play around with it.
Always remember: this is an experiment. Whatever happens, you're just playing and seeing what happens.
Before, I very rarely got compliments from random people. When I did this in combination with improving my style, people started asking if I was a model and complimenting my hair a lot more. One person even asked to take a picture of my hair to show her stylist.
Week 3: Get people to move out of your way without saying a word
This is my favorite exercise, which I got from reading The Charisma Myth. Imagine a big gorilla charging down a street. Now imagine that you are the gorilla.
When you walk down a street or a hallway, or whenever you're around people, imagine that you're that gorilla. Don't beat your chest or swing your fists, but just imagine that you are the gorilla.
Over time, you'll naturally find yourself taking up more space and people will be moving out of your way.
What this does is improve your presence and power. This is one of the best ways I've found to learn to take up more space and use more powerful body language without having to constantly be conscious of it. We're creating a sense of power within, at a more subconscious level.
WEEK 4: Develop your boundaries
Personally, I was an approval-seeking pushover who was constantly worried that no one liked me, and I believed that I had to do everything anyone asked in order for them to like me.
What started to help with this was reading a book about boundaries. I read Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day, but there are plenty of books out there that address this topic.
I started being very clear about what I was and wasn't willing to put up with. I stopped being such a pushover who wouldn't defend myself. I brought closer good people who supported me and made me better. I called out shady people who made weird comments about me, or I stopped talking to them. I wasn't afraid to let them go, nor did I need their approval.
As a result, I started developing a stronger inner sense of confidence that yes, I can speak up, and yes, I'm worth it. And the people around me now supported this.
YMMV with this one. If this isn't an issue for you, I would dedicate week 4 to something that is. If you want to become a better speaker, I would look for a public speaking class or coach. The best public speaking training I know of is Own The Room (I used to coach for them, so I may be biased). Taking improv classes for a year increased my belief in my competence and my comfort with being on stage, but it didn't increase my charisma noticeably.
I'll add that I did all this while working with a great coach and reading The Charisma Myth. And this doesn't include the previous year of doing hundreds of hours of public speaking training, learning body language, and familiarizing myself with networking strategies.
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