Saturday, January 5, 2013

Charm School




I recently read The Power of Charm as an e-book through my employer.  I often feel the pull of “self-help” books drawing me towards them, and away from the romance novels rest of the bookstore.  On a quest to learn more about people it is no surprise that I, in turn, discover things about myself and strive to make some of the more positive attributes part of my own.  A book about charming people?  Charming sounds magical, after all Mr. Prince Charming himself was in a magical fairy tale.  I want a piece of that magic! 
What makes people charming?  Who am I charmed by?  What does it mean to be a charming person?  Can anyone be charming, or is it a quality some people just naturally have and others admire?  So many questions!
So, what did I learn from this book?  Charming people are good listeners - they make people feel valued.  The book covered many tips to “win anyone over in any situation” and it always came back to being a good listener.  Pay attention (!), make eye contact, repeat what the person said.  Make the person talking feel as though they are the only thing that matters to you in that moment.
Yeah I know I should be a good listener, and I know what I need to do in order to be an active listener.  Each and every day I fail - often many times.  I want to be a better listener, and as a result a more charming person.  I know what I need to do, but it is good to remind myself what those qualities are that I am striving to obtain.  Reading books like this are a good reminder.   
In the book there is an example of a man and woman talking at a party.  Later the woman mentions to her husband what a great conversationalist and how charming the other man was.  The husband, having paid close attention no doubt, noticed that the other man barely spoke during the whole conversation.  He was an exceptional listener.  By using the power of charm he made that woman feel as though she was the most interesting person in the room.  I want people to experience that with me.  I want them to walk away feeling special.  I want them to be charmed by me. 

I have slipped into an area where I pride myself on multi-tasking. Yes, I can listen to you AND check Facebook at the same time. That is not a charming quality to have, so I’m working on it. For me that means being in the moment. I've started practicing on innocent bystanders at work, at the grocery store, as I place my order at a restaurant.  They have no idea that I'm workin' the charm, or attempting to anyway.  I make a better effort to ask questions about them to keep them talking in hopes that they will realize that they are important.  The trick is that you have to really feel as though they are worth your time, because anything less is a waste of time for both of you. 

People are important, even the ones we barely know.  When it's all said and done what people are going to remember about you is not what you did, but how you made them feel. Make them feel special.

I read an article recently (sorry, I can't find the source) where the author was discussing how to be more likable.  My take-away: let people be better than you.  You don't have to win - try to lose.  I am not super competitive, but at the same time I don't TRY to lose.  This doesn't mean that you put yourself down or do anything to shed a negative light on yourself, you just focus on letting the other person shine.  Stop trying to top their story, don't follow up with an example of your own, just let them have all the glory in that moment.  Be impressed by them and give them a compliment. 

Make it a habit to include a compliment in every conversation you have.  In this case a thank you counts as a compliment, buy only when it's specific.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to talk to me.  Thanks for quickly refilling my drink.  Compliment the bank teller, your coworkers, and your spouse.  Force yourself to say one nice thing about everyone you talk to.  Say it out loud and say it directly to them.  Some people are going to get multiple compliments each day.  Those people are a big part of your life (whether you like it or not) and they need to hear good things from you. 

What's ironic is that when you start charming other people - making them feel special - you will start to feel special as well.  As people smile at you, laugh at your jokes, make eye contact, and share those big (and small) moments of their lives I promise that you will feel special.  You will start noticing the good in others, and you will be made aware of their struggles.  You will see and hear things you missed before, and you will be better because of it. 

Create more happiness in your own life by changing the way you interact with others.  Be charming. 

1 comment:

  1. Multitasking, ugh. It does seem like we live in a perpetual state of having to focus on facebook,twitter, and a home life at once.

    I'm not sure about being more charming, but I know I'd burn fewer meals if I weren't typing on facebook while cooking spaghetti sauce. So this is something to work on for sure. Thanks for the reminder.

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