Charming? Who Me?
Have you ever wished you could be “a charmer,” but thought it was reserved for certain personalities or people with a particular sun sign, set of looks, or body type? Or maybe you think you’re pretty charming, that everyone likes you, and there’s nothing more to learn or improve in?
Well, whether you’re in the first or latter category or somewhere in between, the news is that everyone is capable of charm. It might come more naturally to some than others, true, but being charming is an art, a skill, which anyone can learn and continue to improve in (including all you Don Juan’s out there), if you’re willing to apply yourself to it.
As one writer put it, “Charm is not a secret. Charm is not a magical quality. Some are born with it, but most charming people develop their skills and learn the art of interpersonal communication. Charm involves mastering social abilities and skills that open doors. You can become charming. It just requires learning a set of applicable skills.”
So why exactly do we need charm? Well, for one, it’s a part of manners, etiquette and good interpersonal communication, which is an area the Word makes pretty clear we could all stand to improve in.
Mama: Having good manners and learning better etiquette will greatly improve our witness and sample. You may be a very loving person in your heart, you may mean well and have good intentions, and may think loving thoughts toward others, but if you don’t know how to practically show that love to others, then it’s meaningless.
Whatever our reasons for losing the spirit of outgoing courtesy and manners, we need to make a turnaround. We need to realize that it is important. It’s part of showing love. It’s part of our sample and witness to the world. Having etiquette and good manners and being courteous is not just a nice thing; it’s a necessity. It’s what the Lord expects of us, and what we should expect of ourselves.
Bear in mind that when addressing charm in this context, we’re not talking about flirting, being “the stud,” and attracting attention to yourself. We’re talking about charm in the sense of being polished, polite, well-groomed and gracious. Good etiquette is part of our witness, and our witness is definitely the going trend, now more than ever as we’ve entered the Offensive, so it behooves us all to take a look at our “charm gauge” to see how we are faring in that department, and where we could stand to improve.
Is charm really that important? Yes, it is. Believe it or not, charm is accredited for much of one’s success in business in the world today. So obviously, having good etiquette and manners, being charming, and knowing how to interact well with different strata of society will make a big difference to your success in life!
Here’s what a few of the pros have to say about “charm”:
“It is said that in business, 85% of your success is tied to communication and ‘social intelligence.’ ‘Social intelligence’ can be defined as the set of abilities and understandings that help you interact smoothly with others—such as how you carry yourself, interact with people and get along with people.”
“Being charming is a ‘pivotal secret’ to effective communication, persuasiveness and influence.”
“People with charm are instinctively likeable; they evoke positive emotions and draw powerful responses. They are ‘persuasive’ and ‘admirable’; they make ‘people feel like a million.’ Charm is the key to being a successful communicator.”
“Charm is not shallow or dependent on superficial measures, like wearing fashionable clothes. It’s much deeper. Charming people know how to find another person’s essence and build a special rapport.”
So, need we say more? Being charming can make your life at home better and your witness more fruitful, and can even help you to earn more money!
Following are a few excerpts taken and adapted from the book, “The Power of Charm,” by Brian Tracy and Ron Arden, which you might find useful, and which you should most of all, practice. They might seem basic to you, but just try consciously incorporating one or several of these tips into daily life—in the Home and in your outreach and follow up (wisely of course)—and see what sort of responses you start getting back. We’ll bet you anything you’ll immediately notice the difference.
Tricks of the Trade
• Make eye contact – When you are in a conversation, do you wonder how much eye contact is enough? Actually, 100% is about right. But don’t use a focused gaze (don’t stare), which can be intimidating and unproductive.
• The “head tilt” – A dog tilts its head in your direction when you are speaking to indicate that it can listen longer. The same holds true for people. The head tilt is functional and charming. It makes you look inquisitive and it increases your ability to make the other person acknowledge that you are listening.
The art of listening—the guy/girl difference
To improve your listening skills, be attentive and reflective, ask questions and provide feedback. A good listener can rephrase the other person’s words accurately. Research indicates that women are better listeners than men and that they use more of their brain centers when they listen. Therefore, men who wish to be charming should focus on improving their listening skills.
As a result of these physiological differences, you should use different approaches to talk to a man than you use when you talk to a woman. When a man wants to establish rapport with a woman, he should listen more than he talks, pay attention, demonstrate respect and – when addressing someone close to him personally – show affection. A woman who wants to charm a man can ask questions that lead him to talk about his career and achievements. This feeds his self-esteem, reinforcing his basic need to provide and be successful.
• Nodding your head – This indicates that you are paying attention, and it shows your level of agreement and excitement. Nodding your head at people indicates that you acknowledge their presence.
• Listen to yourself – If your voice is shrill, monotonous or unpleasant, people won’t want to listen to you. Work on improving the sound of your voice and adding “warm, full” and animated tones. Practice using a recorder. (Editor: For more tips on improving your speaking voice, see e-spresso issueno. 4a.)
• The power of humor – Smiling and laughing show that you enjoy being with people. Humor is a shortcut to being charming. When you want to be happy or enthusiastic, but you are not, you can pretend that you are. This produces emotions that can make you genuinely happy or enthusiastic. Your actions can change your inner feelings. Even on the phone, a smile or a laugh can help you charm your listener.
• Use other vocal prompts – Responses such as “uh-huh” and “aah” tell other people that you are listening as they speak. Other reassuring responses – such as “really?” or “interesting…” indicate that you are keeping up and absorbing the information. Tone of voice plays a major role when providing voice prompts.
How you position your body also indicates your level of interest in what someone is saying or doing. If you want to be charming, face the speaker directly with your whole body when you listen. When you stand next to someone who is speaking, notice the distance between you. If you are within two feet, you are likely in their personal space. The average business distance is generally two to six feet.
Some body language is negative. Avoid slumping in your chair or turning your head to face a person while your body is pointed away.
Studies say that body language conveys over half of what you are communicating, while the tone of your voice signals about a third of what you’re communicating. Only one tenth of your message is conveyed solely by the words you speak.
Women are particularly attuned to body language. Be aware that body positioning can dominate or even block the content of your message.
Voice and speech
Charming people speak with emphasis and impact, knowing that it may take more than words to make a point. To be heard, don’t talk too fast. That makes you hard to comprehend and it doesn’t leave any opportunity for a conversation. Pace your speech. To slow down, use a tape recorder to listen to yourself as you practice using a modulated tempo. Heed your voice, speed and delivery. Use silences or pauses to let people think and make a connection. Pause after you say something important to add emphasis.
Other vocal techniques include changing your volume, tempo and tone. If you are conversing in close proximity to another person, or if you need to negotiate or reason with someone, speak in a lower range.
Since people like to talk about themselves, encourage them. Ask questions to learn what they value. Start conversations with “who,” “why,” “where,” “what” and “when.”
Additional tips for interacting with others in a charming manner
1. Accept others unconditionally – Avoid being critical of other people. To enhance someone’s self-esteem and happiness, smile when you meet. You can accomplish this without saying a word.
2. Show your appreciation for other people’s contributions – It doesn’t matter if the contribution is large or small. Appreciation is linked directly to self-esteem and all you have to do to express it charmingly is to say “thank you.”
3. Offer affirmation – People thirst for approval. Verifying their actions with your approbation confirms their decisions and enhances their self-esteem.
4. Compliment others – A compliment re-energizes someone’s self-esteem. You can compliment a person’s appearance, fashion sense, actions or accomplishments.
5. Pay attention – Listening attentively to others is essential to developing charm.
Closing Thots (Taken from The Power of Charm—How to win anyone over in any situation, by Brian Tracy and Ron Arden)
Practice charm. Be pleasant with everyone. Always be gracious and understanding. Be nonjudgmental. Have a quick smile ready – everybody will want one.
One of the most fundamental secrets of charm [is] being able to see the world through the other person’s eyes.
People with charm avoid being inflexible and judgmental.