Charisma is a word often used to describe remarkable people. The word comes from the Greek “khárisma” and means “gift of grace.”

There are many charismatic people, yet they all weren’t born great. Gandhi was a mediocre Indian lawyer, and if you listen to one of Bill Clinton’s speeches back when he was a governor, you’ll be amazed at how boring he was.

Charisma, by definition, is the ability to be charming and inspire devotion in others. That really makes you wonder if it’s something that you’re born with, or a learned trait. The idea of it being a “gift of grace” conveys a “black-and-white” and “God-given” meaning. You’re either born expressive, persuasive and charming, or you’re not. It’s not like you could learn to be like Gandhi or Steve Jobs.Man tipping his hatSome people are born with the innate ability to run very fast, solve problems or make people laugh. But medals and grand achievements are the result of hard work. They aren’t just things that are handed out as gifts.

The same goes with charisma. Some people actually work hard to become more charismatic, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re emotional and social creatures, and being charismatic helps pave the road to success and happiness.

If you follow the nine pieces of advice below, you’ll be well on your way to developing more personal charisma and attracting others to you in your day-to-day life.

Be confident

Confidence is the foundation on which charisma is built, but while being confident is important, it isn’t everything. Knowing how to balance confidence with humility makes the difference between an unshakable individual and an eyeroll-worthy “bravado” attitude.

Many people think that confidence depends on external factors, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Confidence comes from within. It’s only natural for people who don’t know you to doubt your abilities or trustworthiness. But you know who you are and what you can do, and you should rely on that, rather than the opinions of other people.

If you find that your emotions get in your way, simply “fake it ’til you make it,” as Zig Ziglar famously said. Fake confidence so much that it becomes real!

Be positive

Charisma is all about making yourself liked, while being authentic. Nobody likes pessimistic and negative people. Be a beacon of light that spreads positive energy and optimism.

A fun thing to do is smile at strangers on the street. This might feel odd at first, but the only chance you’ll be taking is the chance that you’ll make someone else’s day a bit happier!

Encourage others, as it’s hard to be pessimistic while you’re actively trying to boost someone else’s morale. You’ll create positive vibes for yourself and the other person, which’ll help both of you maintain a positive outlook.

Be assertive, not aggressive

Assertiveness is a necessary quality to have if you want to win people’s hearts. It’s also a small way to display your self-esteem.

To be assertive, talk with conviction and confidence, but don’t yell. Don’t apologize or say “excuse me” too often, if you truly didn’t do something wrong. If you apologize too much, people will start thinking that you’re ashamed of your own presence, or that you’re incompetent—neither of which will do you any good.

Actively listen

man and woman in conversationBeing charismatic isn’t about how well you can convince others of how awesome you are; it’s about bringing out the awesomeness in other people.

Think of your own opinion of people who constantly brag. Do you have a lot of admiration for them?

A great way to actively listen and bring out the best in the people you speak to is to follow these three steps:

  • Closely observe the person talking
  • Visualize their words
  • Reflect rationally and emotionally on the delivered message

Let go of your ego and pride

Be more interested in others than in yourself.

Of course, nobody’s telling you not to express your point of view or your wishes; just don’t make it all about yourself. Be more interested in others than in yourself.

As the saying goes, the mind is like a parachute—it’s useful only when open. Accept everyone as they are and admit that you have something to learn from anyone. When you’re provoked, seek to understand the other person, rather than reacting defensively or aggressively. Try to reach a compromise, even if that means agreeing to disagree.

Be responsible for your actions

Charisma is also about admitting mistakes and, when not guilty of anything, solving problems instead of identifying and admonishing the guilty.

If necessary, you can “take one for the team” from time to time, if you have less to lose when it comes to a particular outcome than the one who’s actually guilty.

Be generous

teddy bear holding a 50 euro noteCharismatic people know how to give. Napoleon Bonaparte used to conquer cities and take money from the defeated, but rather than keeping the money for himself, he’d hand it out to his soldiers.

This type of giving is available in all aspects of life. In sales, for example, people will not only buy because they like the product; they’ll also buy because they trust the person selling it.

Display passion in your words and actions

Nurture your passions by learning as much as you can about the things you love doing. Join clubs and associations. Be a great conversationalist and always fully understand what you’re talking about.

However, don’t go to an extreme and take yourself too seriously. This is where a great sense of humour will come in handy. It’s helpful to laugh at your own flaws, as people will feel less intimidated by you if you can laugh at yourself from time to time.

Don’t forget to be authentic

Authenticity means being true to who you are. You can fake confidence, but you can’t fake your true nature. There’s only one you, and in this life, it’s your responsibility to be that person.

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Michael Schoeff is a serial entrepreneur involved in pet products, real estate and freight. He loves to write about personal development because it enables him to maintain a clear purpose in life.

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