You clicked on this article to learn some cool new techniques about how to charm, inspire, and be a social maven.
Right? Of course you did. (At least most of you.)
And, that’s perfect! I wish more people would give a damn about exactly how to have wonderful conversations, listen more than they talk, and ask better questions.
While all of these techniques and tactics (don’t you dare call them ‘tricks’) may polish up the occasional interaction, they’re missing one very important ingredient…
You Must Have Positive Beliefs About Socializing and Connecting With People.
All the best habits in the world will not fully stick unless you embody the beliefs and understand the values behind them. Living these values gives an extra layer of credence and richness to every gesture and utterance.
It’s the “Why” behind the “What”. It’s the reason behind the action. It’s what the self-help junkies mean by “authenticity”.
When you live by these values, people can “just tell” when they interact with you.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve met tons of charming, magnetic people and transformed myself socially. Everyone has their own spin on charm and charisma but there are three vital mindsets that they all share.
These are the differences that make the difference.
“Come Dance With Me”
This is the attitude that starts every great conversation, friendship, and romance.
It’s the bold statement that lead to you even existing. Your Dad saw your Mom, thought she was beautiful and…well, you can figure it out from there. We’re all adults here.
The person who really lives this mindset is the person who…
…Starts the fun conversations.
…Makes every moment an opportunity to give an invitations: invitations for conversations, to dance, to party, to connect.
…Builds bridges and connects others. This isn’t about fattening your bank account, it’s about strengthening your social circle.
…Takes risks. They put their ego on the line by saying ‘Hello’, making invitations, and bringing up edgy topics.
…Has all the connections, cool stories, and opportunities because they did all of the above.
My Dad was a master at this. Even though he’s been dead for 13 years, the mere mention of his name still brings a huge smile to everyone’s face. They will always tell a great story of how they met him and the incredible experiences they had together.
That’s what you’re going for, right there.
This Is An Attitude Of Boldness and Taking Action.
It’s what separates the doers, the winners, and the people with interesting lives from those who just talk and think about how cool it would be if ‘something’ happened. I was that guy for most of my life: just sitting on the sidelines, too meek to take a risk.
And, you know what? It is risky to do these things. You’re right to think that. People may not be interested in talking to you, loving you, or working with you. There’s no 100%’s in this world.
I’ll tell you this, though: When you get a taste of what happens when you make bold statements and daring invitations – even if it’s a 10% success rate – you’ll take the risk every-fucking-time.
“You Are The Occasion”
This is one of my favorites. It’s the spirit of curiosity, appreciation, awe, and putting the spotlight on the other person.
In the 1994 movie Don Juan DeMarco, Johnny Depp plays a mentally ill young man who believes he is the world’s greatest lothario – complete with a slight Spanish accent and donned in pirates garb. (But, isn’t he always?)
Playing Depp’s psychologist, Marlon Brando is a jaded married man who has lost his passion for life and is going through the motions with his wife, Marilyn. While initially dismissive of Depp’s amorous delusions, Brando begins to be transformed by the reverence for beauty that his young patient preaches.
Finding a new joy for life and love, he takes Marilyn – a typically stoic Faye Dunaway – for a romantic night out, complete with champagne and a violinist. Overtaken with curiosity about what has made her husband burst with life lately, this sweet little interaction takes place…
Dunaway: So Jack…what’s the occasion?
Brando: …You’re the occasion. (ed: said with a total shit-eating smirk)
Inside of those eight little word lay some of the most valuable gold for creating great conversations and interactions.
You see, we all know our own stories. We all know where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what our goals are. Thinking about yourself, that’s like 96% of your waking life. And, that’s cool, we all do it.
But, that’s not enough if you want to create great interactions.
Want To Be More Memorable? Be Curious About Other People.
People (that includes you) are hungry to tell their story. It doesn’t matter who you are: we all want to be known and heard.
The truth about this is kind of paradoxical, though.
For as much as we love to tell our own story, it’s always more fulfilling when someone asks us to tell it. We might get a little camera shy when asked, but we always remember the person who asked.
It’s rare that someone is genuinely curious and asks about you…so be that rare person.
Try this in your next conversation: Instead of interjecting with your own slightly similar story to fill the silence, ask “Why is that?” about theirs. Ask them to tell you more. And, mean it.
We all love hearing a great story – hell, isn’t that why we get so wrapped up in our favorite TV shows and movies? Instead of your story (which you know back and forth), make them the star of the show.
Curiosity like this takes a mindset of selflessness. My favorite blogger and pundit, Mike Cernovich, put it best:
Nowhere else I’d rather be; No one else I’d rather talk to.
Practice and live this credo. Do so and you’ll have more memorable interactions and relationships that you can handle. And, it’s because you created them all.
“It’s Cool, I Got This”
Like the attitude itself, its definition is pretty simple: the affable, gregarious, and magnetic among us are almost universally accepting of whatever happens in the moment.
There is simply no good reason to overreact, gossip, or overanalyze the situation – who you’re with and what you’re doing at the moment is the real priority. I’m almost positive that this is the definition of ‘cool’.
This attitude shows up in their relaxed body language and a certain presence that says “I’m interested in what’s happening right now“. It shows up in their voice, one that evokes warmth, welcoming, and a certain easy authority.
Most interestingly, though, it manifests in how they handle faux pas, awkward situations, and any other murky social situation. I often see this done with a simple smile and the grace of not being terribly bothered or embarrassed by the situation.
These People Know A Secret Of Social Grace That Most Others Don’t…
It’s a real gem, too – if you can live by this credo, you’ll say ‘goodbye’ to questioning yourself, others questioning you, and just about every perceived awkward situation. Ready for it?
…if you don’t freak out and make a big deal, no one else will either. It’s the ‘cool under pressure’ attitude that we admire in Steve McQueen, presidents, and our bosses.
Like him or not, Donald Trump has been doing this perfectly in his 2016 presidential campaigning.
When asked by the mainstream media about a potentially damning or embarrassing fact, Trump will often readily admit to it. This is not how most people act; most people deny or apologize profusely, losing any waning credibility.
Being used to pouncing on any denial of guilt like a pack of hungry jackals, this starves the media – and other ‘haters’ – from putting you into murky social situations.
It’s definitely a game changer of an attitude.
And, it’s also easily attainable – all of these beliefs can be learned. These aren’t just relegated to the few, the proud, and the charismatic.
Let’s learn how.
Two Easy Ways To Internalize Beliefs
As Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy has studied, our beliefs shape our body language and our body language shapes our beliefs.
Dr. Cuddy has found that certain poses (see the diagram below for ‘high power’ and ‘low power’ poses) for just a few minutes each day can create significant changes in our body’s hormone levels. Sitting or standing in a “high power” poses can quickly increase our testosterone levels while simultaneously lowering cortisol levels.
For those of us – including yours truly – who came dangerously close to failing high school biology, testosterone controls feelings of calmness, authority, power, and confidence while cortisol impacts our stress levels.
You read that right, buddy…a few minutes of sitting/standing properly can make you feel less stressed and more confident. Isn’t science fucking awesome?!
Another powerful tool I use to quickly internalize new beliefs is just as simple: writing.
I’ll often write about the type of person who already lives this belief, how they see the world, how they deal with challenges, and the types of actions they take to support this belief.
Dutch psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis studied this tactic and discovered some interesting results.
He gave a group of students a special writing assignment and then had them take a test. He had the one group of students first write an essay about what they thought being a professor was like, while the control group only took the test. The students who wrote the essay scored an average of 60% on the test while the control group averaged only 50%.
By just considering and writing about how these people – imaginary, ideal people – think and the kinds of actions they take, you can make noticeable improvements in your ability to embody great social grace.
It’s strong shit, this stuff.
The Mindset Of Magnetic Personalities
Charismatic personalities come in a lot of flavors.
There is a more outgoing charisma – like your Tony Robbins and Richard Branson’s of the world. There are your more wild, creative genius charismatics, too – entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk comes to mind.
Hell, the latest tech boom has lionized even the dorkiest, most introverted geeks.
Regardless of your temperament, there are a few core mindsets and attitudes that they all share.
For one, they all are quintessential men and women of action. They make invitations and bold gestures, they start parties and conversations.
Second, they put their focus on everyone else. They intimately understand their own story and are hungry to hear about everyone else’s lives.
Finally, the really magnetic and charismatic among us emanate a relaxed, curious presence that welcomes all situations and judges none.
It’s important to note that these are not just attitudes to appreciate and admire. No, these are attitudes that can be learned and embodied much easier than you probably imagine.
Peace & Charisma,
Dalton K. Finney