Most of us have come across them at some point – the kind of people who can walk into a room full of strangers but then leave with 10 new friends, a lunch date for the next day, and the promise of an introduction to an industry insider.
Charmers. What makes these lucky individuals so effortlessly likeable when many of us have to work so hard at it? While many would have you believe social grace or winning people over is something of an artform, there is a surprising amount of science behind it too.
Now, here’s how to be effortlessly charming:
Put on a happy face
Of course, while you may not be able to control the physical features of your face, it is possible to alter your expressions and smile.
For those situations where our first impression has not been as good as we might have hoped, there is also hope – we can still win people over so they forget that initial snap judgement.
Channel your charm
This is where charm can come in.
Contrary to popular depictions, being likeable can have its benefits in business. Entrepreneurs with better social skills are more likely to be successful and workers who are well liked are better at getting their way at work.
Best of all, it’s possible to train yourself to be charming.
So what can the rest of us do to be more charming? The three major things we do when we approach somebody that signals we are not a threat is an eyebrow flash a slight head tilt, and a smile
So now you have made your entrance – hopefully without gurning like a maniac – experts agree that the next key to likability is to make your interaction about the other person. That means not talking about yourself.
Also, if you know more about the person you’re speaking with, you can be even more effective. In a networking situation – something many people dread – you may have heard something about the person you’re speaking with, allowing you to bring up specific topics that are relevant to them.
Find common ground
Charming people are often skilled at finding common ground with the people they interact with, even when there’s not much to go on.
When you disagree, try to really listen to the other person rather than setting up your response, which research shows smart people tend to do. It might seem like you totally disagree but on closer examination you might agree on a few things, at least in principle.
It’s always a good idea to keep up with current events, and industry news, since those are the things most people have in common.
Watch their body
Another key to likeability is to mirror the body language of the other person. When people are conversing and they begin to mirror one another, it is a signal that have a good rapport.
So you can use that and mirror them so you can signal to them that you have good rapport. It is also a good way to test how the conversation is going – if you change your own position and the other person copies you, it is probably going well.
A common mistake that many of us make is to overwhelm new people with too much information about ourselves, which can put them off. Instead, reveal details about yourself little by little – like bread crumbs – so each new piece of information acts as “curiosity hooks” to keep their interest going.
So next time you walk into a room filled with new faces, with a bit of effort it might be you that everybody wants to get to know.