Today, we’re continuing our series on communication. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing insights, strategies, and tips for communicating during all kinds of circumstances: under stress, in the workplace, when delivering a presentation, and so on. The valuable content we provide will help you excel as a communicator and gain a highly coveted skill that can see you rise in both your personal and professional life.

Last time, we discussed 4 ways to help you communicate more effectively in meetings. In case you missed the post, you can read it here.

This time around, we’re going to discuss communication strategies you can easily master today to help you become a more charismatic individual.

Why is charisma important? According to Business Insider, there are 8 things that people decide within mere seconds of meeting you. Some of those things include: if you’re smart, if you’re successful, and…you guessed it, if they can trust you. Setting aside time to work at becoming more charismatic, therefore, is essential in the workplace, where charisma can very often be the difference between securing a lucrative contract with a big client, winning a promotion, or simply motivating your team toward a new ambitious goal.

Here are 5 simple ways to become more charismatic:

 

  1. Smile more. As simple as it sounds, this one action can make a world of difference in your conversations with others. According to Forbes, “Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure…A recent Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.” Smiling is contagious. It not only puts those in your presence at ease, but it also opens room for a more relaxed social situation where each party feels comfortable, thus making it easier to endear yourself to others. So to become more charismatic, smile more!

 

  1. Get people to talk about themselves. According to Business Insider, a Harvard study revealed that talking about yourself stimulates the same brain regions as do intimacy or a good meal. Why is this? Talking about one’s self increases vulnerability, and when we’re vulnerable, we naturally establish deep emotional bonds with each other. It’s hard not to have an affinity for someone with whom you share such a bond. The next time you have an important conversation in the books, lead with getting the other party to talk about themselves. This establishes rapport and sets a comfortable tone, making you more likeable.

 

  1. Become a mirror. Have you ever noticed how people who spend a great deal of time together eventually end up mirroring each other’s bodies in some way? Psychologists have discovered that this naturally occurs as an indication of trust and safety. In other words, we tend to mirror someone when we feel comfortable and relaxed around them. You can also replicate this natural phenomenon in day-to-day life, however. The next time you’re in a negotiation, try mimicking the other party’s actions. If they take a sip of water, do the same. If they lean forward, copy the behavior. Your actions will automatically signal to their brain that you’re someone to be trusted.

 

  1. Be more relational. Individuals with great charisma tend to use words that others can relate to. In fact, psychologists assert that the most effective communicators use concrete language, as opposed to abstract language. For example, University of California at Davis psychologist Dean Keith Simonton says that expressions such as “I feel your pain” form an emotional connection with others, while expressions like “I can relate to your viewpoint” fall flat. Observe the language you use in important social situations and be sure to choose expressions that have a more emotional/relational angle.

 

  1. Talk about potential—not accomplishments. According to a Stanford-Harvard study, people don’t offer their undivided attention when you’re discussing accomplishments…but that changes when you’re discussing perceived potential. To understand this, we need only consider the high-profile product announcements Steve Jobs regularly hosted for the Apple company. While facts and figures played a role, of course, such engagements were almost always more focused on the potential of the new product, of what it could be used to accomplish, on how it could potentially change a user’s life. In your next presentation, don’t just rely on cold data to win over your audience. Talk about the potential as well, and you’ll have an audience that’s more cognitively engaged.

 

Implement these 5 strategies in your next conversation, negotiation, or meeting, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more charismatic individual who people like, trust, and want to do business with!