How To Be More Charismatic: 7 Common Traits You Can Adopt

Charisma can be learned

Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

You know one when you see one. A person with charisma walks into the room and all eyes are on them. They draw people in like a magnet as they ooze self-confidence, feeling good in their own skin. They put people at ease with their presence alone. 

People with charisma are few and far between, but real recognize real. They congregate together, yet they’re never exclusive. Their energy is warm and inviting, and they attract people toward them, like flies and honey. 

So what makes people charismatic? What does charisma even mean?

First stop, the dictionary says:

  • a divinely conferred gift or power
  • a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people
  • the special virtue [and] an unusual ability for leadership, worthiness of veneration, or the like

Spiritual power? Divinely conferred? I mean, wow. That sounds a bit extra for Dictionary dot com. Although, you could argue that charisma really is God-given. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be studied and adopted.

Here is what I’ve found people with charisma have in common.

#1 — They smile easily.

Research shows that smiling has a tremendous impact on others’ perception of your intelligence, success, and attractiveness. People with charisma smile easily. They’re more attractive as a result. Better yet, they come off as smart and successful.

One article suggests smiling from within:

“When you smile from the heart and follow up with a kind personality, you will get more and give more to the world than you ever thought possible.”

People with charisma smile from the heart. That doesn’t mean they grin all the time. Creepy! Rather, their inner smile carries into their eyes, what researchers call the Duchenne smile–the one that reaches your eyes.

They carry themselves with an inner smile that glows from the inside out, which naturally draws people in. Who doesn’t want to be around people with an inner glow?

How to adopt this habit:

Cultivate an inner smile by tending to your soul. Take care of yourself and all of your needs — emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Cleanse yourself of negative energy. Practice gratitude. Do things that make you happy. Surround yourself with a community of supportive, uplifting, and like-minded people. And practice smiling on the outside first as evidence suggests that positive body language can influence your inner mood.

#2 — They are comfortable with silence.

Ever notice when someone talks a little too much? It could be a sign of anxiety.

Rambling and excessive talking could mean you’re socially anxious. You fear saying the wrong thing or being judged by others. You end up talking more than usual, and you don’t know when to stop. Meanwhile, you’re worried about what other people think. And because you talk so much, maybe you do say the wrong thing. It becomes a feedback loop.

People with charisma are human too, so it’s not like they’ve never been anxious. However, they’ve nipped it in the bud and grown from it. They don’t feel the need to talk all the time. They know when silence sounds better.

People with charisma have a way to break the awkward silence, redirect, or even lead the conversation, but they don’t feel the need to do so.

How to cultivate this habit: 

Focus on the present moment with the people around you. Quiet down your thoughts (breathe!) and concentrate on any given conversation at hand. Every interaction is a new opportunity to connect with others. Take things in stride, one exchange at a time.

#3 — They don’t get defensive.

Ever seen a small dog yap and the big dog quiet when they meet at the park?

The small one tries to make up for its size by being the louder one. The bigger dog has nothing to prove, so it stays unbothered.

It’s kind of the same with humans.

Defensive people have something to prove. They like to correct people and make them feel worse. Their defensiveness results from feeling insecure, ashamed, or guilty. They feel the need to justify themselves after feeling personally attacked (often when no one ever said anything).

Defensive people, inherently insecure, don’t want to see other people win.

People with charisma, on the other hand, have confidence and self-esteem. They let their energy speak for themselves — they don’t need to flaunt it.

They discern between when it’s right to say something and when to let go. They don’t feel the need to correct people, but when they do, they don’t leave the other person feeling worse. They create humor out of it and they leave them feeling comfortable or comforted.

How to practice this habit:

Awkward comments and situations arise all the time. Practical tips on navigating these moments include: 

  • Admitting that you don’t know how to respond: “I don’t know what to say to that!”
  • Drawing curiosity on the topic: “You sound really concerned about X. Where do you think that’s coming from?” or “What do you mean by that?”
  • Not saying anything at all. Know when silence sounds better than what you’re about to say. Let the speaker sit in the awkward moment they created. You don’t need to save anyone from it. Let it be. 

#4 — They don’t put other people down.

People with charisma do the opposite — they uplift. They don’t look down on others from a high horse. They’re grounded and full of admiration.

Humility and charisma go hand in hand. They can appreciate how their way of doing things isn’t the only way or the best way.

They’re tuned into how not everyone has access to the same resources or privileges. So, they don’t put people down for prioritizing different things in terms of how to live. For example, how, when, and where to shop, what to consume in terms of food or information, how to parent, etc. The list goes on.

People with charisma know not to judge, especially not those who are less advantaged.

How to adopt this mindset: 

It’s much harder to put others down when you yourself are happy with what you have and who you are. Mind your own business and let others be.

#5 — They are socially adept.

They know how to adapt to their audience and environment. They don’t feel the need to use big words. They have high emotional intelligence. They’d rather leave people doubting their intelligence than make a show of what they know.

People with charisma adapt well and quickly. To see their social skills at play, have them interact with a group of kids. A charismatic person makes kids feel comfortable around them. They can bring down their vocabulary to relate to their audience, and vice versa and they do so almost effortlessly.

How to practice this trait: 

Know your audience. Ask open-ended questions. Be kind, gentle, and polite. Be mindful of your manners. Practice social skills. Be quick to compliment. 

#6 — They make other people feel good about themselves.

Charismatic people are incredible listeners. They give you their undivided attention. They make other people feel important by staying genuinely curious and present.

It boils down to listening, eye contact, follow-up questions, and thoughtful responses.

With a world full of people who listen to respond, people with charisma listen to hear you. They see you, they acknowledge you, and they validate your story with mere presence alone.

How to adopt this habit: 

Listen to understand. Make eye contact. Be thoughtful in your questions. Remember the details of what people tell you and follow up with them about it later. Genuinely care about people and their stories. 

#7 — They are positive. They inspire confidence.

To inspire confidence is to make people feel at ease because they have trust in your ability. 

How to do it too:

Fill up your life with love, light, and positive energy, and transform it into a powerful force for good. Continuously level up, learn from your mistakes, and become a better version of yourself every single day. 

Charismatic people are leaders. They’re influencers, uniters, and community builders. They inspire others to be their best selves because they too work on how to show up as the best version of themselves on any given day. 

Charismatic people shine their light onto the world and, as a result, unconsciously give others permission to shine.

Charismatic people are not afraid to be themselves, know themselves, love themselves, and trust themselves and their journeys.

Charismatic people are people too. They need support, mentorship, kindness, and community. They need to be reminded every now and then of their true power — of who they are and who they came here to be.

So if you have someone like this in your life, celebrate them, remind them, and encourage them to keep on being themselves and letting their light shine. ✨ 

In summary

How to be charismatic in a nutshell:

  • Work on your inner smile — let it shine from the inside out
  • Be comfortable with silence — know when silence sounds better than what you’re about to say
  • Build up your confidence and self-esteem — lose the defensiveness
  • Uplift others — don’t put other people down
  • Practice and build on your social skills
  • Give people your undivided attention — make them feel important
  • Inspire confidence — stay positive

Melissa Chanthalangsy 2022 © 

Thanks for reading!

For further reading, you might also like these pieces by me: 

Why You Can’t Be Afraid Of Being Disliked
Be true to yourself — there will always be haters

How to Set Yourself Up for Success: 8 Key Principles to Get What You Want Out of Life
#2 — Know yourself

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