When you stand up to speak in a meeting, people listen. When you say jump, people jump. You're magnetic. You've got energy. Panache. Power. In a word, you're charismatic.
Or you will be, after you finish reading this column.
Consider if you will my sad story. No one ever paid attention to me, and they certainly didn't jump when I said jump, unless it was to jump on my head. But then, in my loser loneliness, I stumbled upon an article by Jeff Haden on Inc.com. The title was, 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People, and let me tell you, it changed my life.
Since I am new to charisma, I'll let Mr. Haden describe what we are trying to achieve for you. "Some people instantly make us feel important. Some people instantly make us feel special. Some people light up a room just by walking in."
Let's be honest here, Haden is not describing you. When you walk into a room, it not only doesn't light up. It feels like the entire North American power grid has gone down. (On the positive side, you do make people feel important and special, but that's only in comparison to your sorry self.)
Fortunately, there is hope for people who need a charisma transplant. Adopt a few of the 10 habits Jeff Haden describes, and you too can be charismatic.
To start with Habit No. 1, remarkably charismatic people "listen way more than they talk." The idea here is to make the other person feel important. That's why you "maintain eye contact. Frown. Nod. Respond -- not so much verbally, but nonverbally."
That should be easy, since you can not only nod, but also nod off. Falling asleep in the middle of a colleague's frantic tale of workplace woe may not seem responsive, but it could work. Who doesn't respect a person who can fall asleep in the middle of a major meltdown?
Remarkably charismatic people also "put their stuff away." Apparently, connecting with others becomes more difficult when you're constantly texting and checking your Facebook page. That's why, if your basic niceness has trapped you into listening to a co-worker's endless problems, simply announce that you are super interested in their story, but first you just have to finish what you're doing. "I'm going to put my stuff away," you explain. "I'll just finish binge-watching these 13 episodes of 'Orange is the New Black.' I'm almost halfway through episode 2, so I should be ready to listen late tomorrow afternoon."
Another charismatic attitude to model is to "shine the spotlight on others." "No one receives enough praise," Jeff Haden so astutely writes. "No one. Tell people they did well."
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