Charm; that intoxicating ability to draw others in and draw them out, to set another at their ease so completely that their interview nerves are eradicated, the skills to make another person feel like the most interesting person in the room regardless of whether they are the CEO or the school leaver. Charm remains elusive to many largely because it is underrated, its simple ingredients of kindness, modesty, agreeableness and politeness overlooked. It is an old school, rustic delight that the modern palate dismisses in favour of the contemporary dish that is on everyone’s table. Lack of time is cited as the reason that kindness cannot be bestowed, modesty is eschewed in favour of shouting about achievements, the desire to win overrides any desire to be agreeable and politeness is often lost as our interactions are shoehorned into increasingly small pockets of time. Isn’t it time for a return to that rustic meal that you once so enjoyed?
1. Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability
We are conditioned to achieve and to succeed with social and professional profiles proclaiming just this. It has become so commonplace that we have become afraid to show even a chink in the armour we have created less it comes falling down with a dreadful clatter. But charming people know that the odd touch of vulnerability allows others to see them as human, real and approachable. They are willing to share their foibles openly and the occasional funny anecdote at their own expense. A mirage is enticing but ultimately devastatingly disappointing.
2. Say less
In our rush to promote our personal brand, the temptation to reiterate our general fabulousness to all we encounter can be overwhelming. Charming people don’t do this, instead they are assured within their own skins, preferring to let others have their moment to shine. Like an indulgent Aunt or Uncle they utilise their significant questioning skills to equip others with the robes and adornments to become an active player in the performance.
3. Look for agreement rather than contradiction
Our professional roles demand that we must challenge decisions, viewpoints and plans, defend our own position or that of an employee, and search for every lace left untied that would ultimately lead to a fall. These skills are invaluable to us but when not tempered with charm they can easily morph into a combative stance that colours all of our interactions. Charming people look for points of agreement, they don’t actively look to disagree, but when appropriate are able to calmly offer a different point of view.
4. Extend the same courtesy to all- politeness
Economics suggests that the bigger the project, the greater the investment it receives. And so it often follows that the more important the person you are dealing with, the greater the oomph you put into your interactions with them. Even socially, the pecking order that we all subconsciously ascribe to becomes our normative behaviour. But there is something so appealing about a person who treats all the same, regardless of their position. Gandhi did this well and in doing so, flipped the perceptions of others about who was worthy of attention.
5. They have a genuine interest in others
There is a marked difference between a person who asks open ended questions to tick boxes and a person who has a genuine interest in what the answer is. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt and often our very many interactions with others coupled with a heaped to do list can make that spark that got us into our role in the first place, extinguish. Charming people are sincere, and always want to learn and it is this that is so appealing to others.