How to Be Charismatic: 7 Ways to Build Better Work Relationships

Jul 22, 2015 - Joe Matar
We're drawn to people who are charming, confident and passionate. We’ve all met them, haven’t we? People who just get along effortlessly with everyone -- those incredible individuals who seem to glide through life on cloud nine. We are envious of them because their life seems like one big adventure, and they are always doing something fun. But our jealously doesn’t last long -- that person is just so likeable. When other people discuss them, they always use words like charming, captivating, and engaging. They make you feel alive. They make you feel like you are the only person in the person in the room. They are charismatic. It seems like it is some vague, intangible quality. But you can learn this skill, even if you’re an introvert. Charisma is actually a learned behavior just like social, communication and emotional skill sets. Being charismatic isn't difficult, and can be hugely rewarding: You get more career opportunities, make more sales, get invited to more parties, make more friends, and influential people are more likely to remember you. Above all, you have more fun. Interested how to be more charismatic? Here are seven tips to follow. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Show vulnerability and authenticity

Charismatic people are confident enough to be unafraid to show a little vulnerability and be authentic. They compliment others. They openly admit weakness or a failure. It's easy to be the person that brags and tells a huge story about how wonderful and great they are. But think about that. Isn't bragging a big turnoff? Who wants to hear someone sell themselves? Instead of trying to one-up who is bragging, instead say, "How did you do that?" or "That's fantastic, tell me more!" People may be temporarily impressed by the superficial, but everyone sincerely likes and appreciates the genuine.

2. Try to find common ground (quickly)

It's easy to take a contrary position in a discussion, but doing so can quickly turn into what feels like an argument. The lawyer in me has fallen prey to that trap many times. But I learned that it never served me well. Charismatic people look for common ground and points of agreement. They may introduce a different position, but they do it in a subtle way that adds to the conversation. Do you want to be right or be happy? You'll win an argument, but lose a connection and lose all the possible connections you'd make with their network, just to be right!

3. Know how to use touch powerfully

Touch can be incredibly powerful. It can influence behavior, increase the chances of cooperation, and make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly. But you need to take the right approach. Here's an example: Let's say you meet someone who just got a promotion, made a huge sale or started a business. Obviously, you want to congratulate them. Offer a handshake! Or, better yet, pat them gently on the shoulder or upper arm -- doing so can help reinforce the sincerity of your words.

4. Take compliments gracefully

People are generally not very good at taking compliments. You can give compliments, no problem! But when we receive one, we squirm, look uncomfortable and say that your achievement is "no big deal." A charismatic person does not do this. Instead, look at receiving a compliment as being given a gift. If you don’t accept it graciously, it can seem like you’re dismissing that person. You don’t want to offend someone who’s reaching out to you. There are two magic words you can use whenever someone gives you a compliment: "thank you." Leave it at that. It's simple, effective and powerful.

5. Give your full attention

Some people have a knack for making you just feel great to be around. They do two things exceptionally well. First, they are completely present with you. Secondly, they are able to get you to talk openly about yourself. First, the people who capture your attention are also good at giving you theirs. They are present and focused in conversations with you. Their head isn't on a swivel trying to check out everyone or everything in the background. They maintain eye contact. Nonverbally, they mimic your behavior because they're totally in sync with you and focused on what you're saying. Practice active listening to create instant rapport, likability and most importantly, trust. Charismatic people open others up quickly when they use ask open-ended questions about what they are passionate about. How do you do that? Just ask, “So what are you passionate about?” or “What projects are you passionate about that you’re working on?” People want to talk about things they are deeply and emotionally attached to. Ask sincere questions, and your conversation partner will answer in the same way. My rule of thumb is to ask questions two-thirds of the time and speak one-third of the time spent in a conversation. Try it and see what happens!

6. Treat everyone with respect

Charismatic people treat everyone the same way. They deserve respect, kindness and appreciation. There are two tests to watch for: The server test: How do they treat wait staff that help them? The way a person treats others reflects on their personality and values. If they mistreat a server, odds are they will mistreat others in a business setting. The group test: When you’re one-on-one, people can fool you because they can focus directly on you with few distractions. When people are in groups, their true colors show because they are overstimulated. It’s nearly impossible to focus on just one person, or watch every word you say to one person for fear the group might overhear. You can learn a lot about someone's communication, social and emotional skill sets when they’re out in public. In fact, this is the best way to interact with someone you first meet. Invite them out to something you are doing with your business colleagues, or to a networking event. You'll learn a lot more about them and see possible yellow or red flags.

7. Don’t drop names

I know someone who always mentions well-known people or amazing adventures they've been into almost every conversation. Why? They want validation. They want others to think they are important. This strategy almost always backfires. Here is a much better way to mention someone you know, if it makes sense for the flow of the conversation: "Did you hear that TED Talk Monica Lewinsky just gave on shame, humiliation and bullying? I hope she talks to Brene Brown. She's amazing, and the leading expert on shame. I've been fortunate to get to know her." You see how that's different than just name dropping? Charismatic people may know cool people, but they don't talk about it just to brag. And that only adds to their charm. People are driven by their emotions and they want to be around people that make them feel good. Try these seven ways to be more authentically charismatic and see the immediate impact it will have you in your business and personal life. Jason Treu is a life-mastery and relationship coach helping men and women to create the business and life they love. Connect with him and get coaching at