7 Tips for Becoming More Confident and Charismatic

How to make friends and open up to people.

Glowing, radiant circles suggesting confidence and charisma.

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In showbiz they call it the “it factor.” This is the trait that makes people stand out. It’s the defining factor that determines which of two equally qualified auditioners get the callback. The it factor breaks the tie between two candidates at a job interview. It presents in personal relationships, leadership roles, and professional partnerships. There are just some people that have “it”; the unspoken ability to attract and appeal to others. 

The good news is that, while some people are born naturally more likable, more charismatic and more confident, these traits can be nurtured as well. Here are seven tips to help you become your most confident and affable self.

The greeting

The power of first impressions is well known. The way you present yourself in the first two minutes of meeting somebody can have lasting implications on the relationship.

Better Humans suggests boosting your greeting power by approaching strangers with an ear-to-ear smile and a warm greeting line. You can turn the awkward 45 second elevator ride into an instant mood boost by delivering a corny, but friendly, line to your co-riders like “It’s a wonderful morning, isn’t it?” At best, you will make a new acquaintance and brighten someone else’s day

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The name

Make a positive impression on others by remembering their names and using them frequently. If you are the type to forget names and faces, Entrepreneur recommends priming yourself beforehand; right before initiating conversation, give your subconscious a short command “remember his or her name.”

Next, go over and introduce yourself, with your friendliest smile. Make sure to pay attention to the name. Throughout conversation, use the other person’s name often. According to Entrepreneur, this is a great way of paying a subtle compliment to your speaking partner, and a way to let them know they are worth speaking to.

Man looking at paper with Name pasted on his forehead.

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How to be a better conversationalist

Robert Brault published a book of original sayings. In one of his quotable quotes, he defines charisma as “the fancy name given to the knack of giving people your full attention.” This quote encapsulates the secret of being a good conversalist. Listen more and listen well. 

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Better Humans explains the power of “rapt listening,” or being fully present, actively listening, and focusing on the other.  “By being 100% present, you signal, ‘I value you, your time, and this interaction of ours.’”

Science of People offers several tips for being an active, engaged listener. Being present means hearing what the other person has to say without pre-planning a rebuttal as they speak. It means not interrupting, not planning a response, and not judging the speaker until you’ve heard the full story. Affirmative sounds, like “uh-huh” and “I see” can show the speaker that you are with him or her. When the speaker finishes, you can reflect and summarize (“it sounds like you are saying…”) and check in with open-ended questions (“how did that make you feel?”).

We all want to be heard. By ensuring that your speech partner feels fully heard, you yourself become more likable and sought out.

Body language

Entrepreneur.com calls this your “other language.” Body language is an unspoken way of communicating that can make you look, and feel, more open and confident. For example, to become more self-assured, try the so-called “Superman’s pose,” with chin up and face to the sky, hand on hips, and feet spread out shoulder-width apart. Studies show that striking this post can actually increase the confidence that you feel!

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One way to silently radiate confidence is by holding eye contact. Entrepreneur.com suggests that if this feels uncomfortable, you can look between the eyes, at the top of the speaker’s nose. 

For an instant charisma boost, Forbes additionally suggests subtly mirroring your partner’s body language. You can also mirror speech patterns and terms. This allows others to feel more comfortable conversing with and opening up to you.

And, not But

As far as speech patterns go, the phrases you use make a difference. When you respond to someone, follow the “and not but” rule. In other words, instead of contradicting others with “I hear you, but…” try “I see what you are saying, and…” It comes off as less confrontational, shows you are open to the other person’s opinion, and can make you that much more likable.

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Being measured and diplomatic in the speech patterns you use to criticize ideas, share your views, and offer suggestions is a plus. Not offering your honest opinion at all, though, is a minus. 

Being open and assertive about your beliefs and opinions, and not fearing disagreement, can make you come across as charismatic and poised. 

Forbes adds that being honest about boundaries also adds to your charisma. If you are more introverted, if you feel uncomfortable, or if you need to turn in early, speak up. Being straightforward keeps you relaxed and confident in your own skin.

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Become genuine

Although charisma and self-assurance can sometimes be a matter of “fake it till you make it”, it doesn’t have to be that way. Better Humans points out that there is nothing stopping you from actually “making it.” If you are genuinely happy, optimistic and self-confident, people will be more drawn to you.

Better Humans suggests gratitude journaling to make that “attitude of gratitude” a reality. Writing down three things you are grateful for every morning, and taking the time to remind yourself frequently of your positive memories and accomplishments can help you feel better in your own skin.

A small group of people sharing stories in an authentic way.

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