Presence, Charisma and Charm (PCC) are seemingly intangible attributes which you either have or you have not.
And yet the lucky few who are labelled with those titles are not always the ones we would expect. They are often not conventionally handsome or beautiful and yet, undeniably they have ‘The X Factor’.
And, whether you like it or not, having the X factor and working hard to develop it, is well worth the effort!
Psychologists have witnessed that ‘PCC’ or ‘X factor’ people are listened to more and are given many additional opportunities. They are forgiven their sins more often and other people are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. Their friends make excuses for them and endlessly try to please them.
So what if you were able to generate that same desire in other people? How valuable would it be to your social and business life?
Luckily.. things maybe ‘looking up’ for those of us who are not so spiritually blessed. As the charismatic ‘few’ have to live here in the physical realm with the bland and samey ‘many’ of us, scientists have studied what it is that they (the blessed) do with their body and mind that gives them their attractiveness. After all they, being human like us, have bodies that work in the same way as ours, so there must be something we can copy that will make us as charming and charismatic as they are. And it turns out there is.
As a main desire of each one of us is to have others pay attention to us and listen to what we have to say (and there is even a new profession called ‘Professional Listener’ ) it should not come as a surprise to learn that PCC people are the all time great attention payers….this is their big secret.
In the time that they spend with you will find that a PCC person concentrates totally on YOU; their focus will be 100%. A PCC person will make you feel as if she is genuinely interested in liking YOU and will not be concerned about trying to make you like her.
PCC people indicate that they are giving you their total attention in six measureable ways.
1) Eye contact.
A PCC’ person will hold your gaze for much longer than anyone else. You will not catch their eyes flicking over your shoulder or out of the window while you’re talking to them So to begin communicating your charm and charisma look directly at the other person for as long as you can.
2) Alternate Signal
Once you have established unerring eye contact, you need to ensure that the person you are charming doesn’t find your gaze intimidating. To do this let your concentration shift from the other person’s left eye to right eye every few seconds. This will indicate to their subconscious that your interest is still 100% and you haven’t drifted into a glassy eyed day-dream.
PCC people accept you as you are. They are not judgemental nor critical. They let you see that they are enjoying your company. The charismatic movie and TV actress Helen Mirren when asked how she projects her obvious charisma said, “It’s simple…I adopt an expression that suggests I am just about to tell the other person a wonderful secret”.
4) Nods and Winks
If you have ever been interviewed on TV you will have heard of ‘nods and winks’. Often a camera operator and a journalist will turn up and do the interview with the one camera focused totally on you. Afterwards you will see that the operator turns the camera on the interviewer who will ask all the questions again to the now empty chair where you were previously sitting. After that, for about a minute, the interviewer will simply nod and smile at the camera and occasionally tilt his head as if listening. Later that night you will see the edited version on TV News with the nods and winks mixed in with your replies. This illustrates to the viewer that real interest was being shown in your replies and that the communication process was very much ‘two way’.
So when you are charming your way into the heart of another person, make sure that you too nod, tilt and slightly narrow your eyes occasionally to indicate your total focus.
5) Undo your body
All practiced and experienced communicators know that Body Language accounts for 55% of received human communication. One particular trait of charismatic people, observed at parties, meetings and other social functions, is that they show the palms of their hands to other people much more than ‘normal people’.
They also never fold their arms whilst listening to somebody else. Their body remains open at all times and they use their arms in an animated way when talking. They face other people directly during a discussion and convey a feeling of energy by keeping their weight on the balls of their feet, dropping their shoulders and unlocking their knees.
6) Voice of approval
Slow and deep are the key signs of charming verbal reassurance. Whereas the masses on the planet tend to talk fast and move quickly, what differentiates the ‘charmers’ is their complete lack of hurry and deep warm tones. In the movie ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ ( Michael Caine and Steve Martin) Caine’s ‘suave’ character educates the brash Steve Martin in the skills needed to charm unsuspecting rich-widows. As the plot opens up we see the American being slowly educated in just these verbal skills.
In the real World to make any other person feel the charisma emanating from your persona simply slow down and deepen. Every so often, when the other person is talking, encourage them with little verbal reassurances: Really?…. Uh-hu…Mmmm….I see!…oh no!… and they will feel that your concentration is total.
And finally (as “Inspector Columbo” would say): “Oh..I nearly forgot…there is just one last thing!”
Charismatic and charming people are not interested in being ‘right’ all the time. They are quite willing to let the other person be right. As Dale Carnegie said in his famous book: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, first published 75 years ago: “Just let the other man feel good about himself and he will love you forever”
Pretty good advice I’d say for any PCC apprentice.