If someone asked what the ONE most important factor is that defines a person as charismatic, the answer would be, “communication”. All charismatic people are exceptionally good communicators. They know how to use words, body language, tone and intonation to convey the exact message they want. It’s amazing to see the impact when you can do that.
7 Factors That Will Make You an Excellent Communicator
Communication is the key. There is no doubt about that. Here are a few factors that will get you there.
1. Make It About Them
Good communicators present their agenda as your agenda. It’s not what they want, but what you want. A good example is when you go for an interview for a job. It is obvious that you need/ want the job – that’s why you have come for the interview. However, if you say, “I need this job very badly because I have a sack full of bills to pay”, it’s a bet you would not get it. Instead, if you say, “I am excellent at XYZ, which would make me an asset to the company”, you’d have an excellent chance at getting it.
Why? Because basically no one really cares as much about what you need as about what you can bring to the table. If you are able to make it about them, you will always get and hold their attention.
2. Know More About Them Than Them of You
This is not advice to play mysterious. You need to genuinely show interest in what your audience wants, their needs and their problems. The more you know about them, the better you can connect with them.
If it is a one-to-one conversation, ask open-ended questions, which make the person talk about themselves. Listen attentively; be careful you make no judgmental comments. The charismatic person never loses sight of the fact that there can always be more than one perspective.
If it is a large audience whom you are addressing or planning to interact with, it is imperative that you have studied them beforehand and know as much about them as possible.
3. Learn To Respond To Body Language
Are they interested in what I am saying or are they not? Watch their body language; read what it says. Adapt to the message you read/ receive. A charismatic person thinks on his feet. He will know how to package what he has to say so it reaches the right spot.
Mirroring the body language of a person is one of the quickest ways to connect and bond with the audience. This is only one little “trick” that can win your audience and make them attentive to what you have to say. Learning to respond to what you read in the body language of your audience is the quickest way to make a significant impact in their minds.
This is one of the reasons – if not the most critical one – why you should learn to read body language as early as possible and as thoroughly as possible.
4. Highlight the Positive, Downplay the Negative
Charismatic people know how to pick up the best aspects and highlight them, while downplaying the negative factors. It is important that you show admiration for your audience; and it should be 100% genuine and true. Flattery would actually backfire as it would show you as an ingratiating person, which means that you have an ulterior motive.
People like to be admired for their positive qualities and positive aspects. They also know and are aware about their negative aspects as well. Hence, you need to be genuine in your praise, or you will alienate your audience.
5. Use “We” More and Less “I”
You need to identify yourself as part of the audience. Hence, it is important that you use “I” minimally and focus more on “we”. This puts you in the middle of the circle and brings everyone else on board with you. Once the audience feels that you are “part of the team” they will make the necessary extra effort to understand what you want and need and respond to you positively.
Using terms such as “we”, “our”, “us” also shows that you do not consider yourself superior to your audience. As “part of the crowd” you project yourself as humble and vulnerable, which will endear you to the audience.
6. Keep Your Energy Levels High
Have you tried doing something when your colleagues (or family members) are yawning or relaxing? You find it extremely difficult to focus on your task because you feel your energy draining out of you. On the other hand, if you work with someone who is full of energy and enthusiasm you will feel picked-up and you will find doing things easier.
When your energy level is high, you transmit it to your audience and fill them with enthusiasm and positive energy.
7. Show Willingness to Take the Relationship Further
Good communicators make others feel important and wanted. You want to show that you want to continue contact with the person/ audience and build on the relationship. It is important that when you propose the next step, this should look as profitable and pleasant to the other person as it is to you.
Never lose sight of the fact that you need to keep the focus on the other person and never on yourself. Always communicate keeping in mind that the other person would respond to the “what’s in it for me” question in his mind.
5 Mistakes You Must Always Avoid in Communication
Since communication is so important, you need to be aware of what could be the most critical mistakes. Here are a few points that you should keep in mind while communicating.
1. There Is No One-Size-Fits All
Charismatic people will never repeat a speech or address. They will have it tailor made for their audience every time they make an address. Similarly, you cannot expect every person to respond the same to a standard line of dialogue. As every person is different, you need to use different approaches for different people.
You never use one-size-fits-all while communicating with people. Every person needs to feel special; if you manage to make them feel special, they will respond to you wholeheartedly.
2. You Are Not Prepared For Opposition
There is always another point of view. It is very much possible that you meet a person or more who do not share your point of view or come in prepared to oppose your ideas. You need to be prepared to not only defend your point of view, but also listen to other points of view – and if necessary negotiate a middle path.
A good communicator always listens; always comes with an open mind when meeting new people as he knows that valuable lessons can come from anywhere, sometimes the most unexpected places.
A charismatic person comes prepared for opposition. He is knowledgeable; he does his homework well. Often, he is an expert in his particular field and is confident about his facts. Not only does he have that, but also he can back each one of them up with the right figures. Nonetheless, he would be willing to listen and be patient enough to consider other points of view before settling on one conclusion.
3. Assuming That Your Message Has Been Received Undistorted
Miscommunication can happen at the most inopportune moments. A good communicator will often check to see whether the message sent is the same as the message received. You will be amazed at the distortion that can take place even in the most seemingly clear messages and communications.
This is where feedback can prove invaluable. A charismatic person always looks for feedback. They always want to know what the audience actually heard. Feedback and discussions can give an accurate insight of what was absorbed and indicate whether the take-home was the same as the message intended.
4. Ignoring Cultural Differences
Simple things can become catastrophes in different backgrounds. For example, offering pork to Muslims or beef to Hindus can turn a positive environment into a completely hostile one.
Charismatic people always pay attention to the type of audience they address and are culturally and emotionally well apprised and educated. They connect through the right words and cultural approach. This is applicable not only to culture, but also to age, gender, political affiliation, religious alignment and so on. In every situation, the charismatic person would know to connect with his audience through the right channel, without giving scope to controversies.
5. Mistake Flexibility with Lack of Assertiveness
A charismatic people will listen to other people’s point of view and perspective, but unless new and very critical facts come up, he will not move from his ideals and plan of action. This is because the charismatic person would always do his homework thoroughly, which makes it very difficult to surprise him with new facts.
Equally important is that the charismatic person is more often than not, wildly passionate about his work and hence, driven by his belief and dreams. Assertiveness comes from confidence and passion – both factors defining the charismatic person.
While flexibility is an important ingredient in bonding with the audience, assertiveness is critical. People respect an assertive person and are inspired by them because passion and self-confidence are most attractive as virtues.