We all know people who are charming. They make you feel like a million bucks - as though you made their day; that you're the most important person in the room. They come off as sincere and genuine and are just so dang likeable. It's quite sickening, really.
So how to emulate these super-human beings? for us mere mortals, there are actually 5 steps we can immediately take to start us on the road to charmingville.
1. Smile. It sounds basic but it's amazing how many people DON'T do it! Smile and the world smiles with you, frown and you look like a miserable so-and-so who no one wants to talk to. Friendly people put others at ease. Fact.
2. Make eye contact. Another seemingly obvious step, however, again a step that many people fail to take. If you don't look people in the eye when you meet them it makes you appear shifty. Look someone directly in the eye and you can't fail to exude confidence and make a positive impression.
3. Have something to say. Read the news, scour Twitter, squirrel away interesting trivia, sign-up for breaking news alerts - For heavens sake, do some prep work. Very few charming people were born that way; most have to work at it. It's no good showing up at an event expecting others to engage you, YOU must do the engaging. Always have a witty ice breaker up your sleeve as a vehicle with which to enter a conversation.
4. Act like a host/hostess. Take it upon yourself to draw people out of their shell by asking questions. Eveyone loves to talk about themselves so you should have a wealth of material. Pretend that every event you attend is a party that you are hosting and behave accordingly. You wouldn't mope around your own party staring into your drink and ignoring everyone, would you? No! Then take the initiative and start putting the focus on others.
5. Always follow-up. Charming people are also genuine people (you can't be one without the other) and most do a really great job of following up with a quick note or e-mail after they meet someone new. It's all very well dazzling everyone with your newfound charm, but if you don't follow-up and make a connection then the exercise is essentially meaningless. After all, a great reason to be charming is so you can be a better ambassador for your organization.
Director of Sales and Marketing
Center for Nonprofit Management