Do you know some people who just seem to “sparkle”? They naturally attract positive attention and draw people in? That’s charisma! Some people just seem to be born with it. While that may be true for a few, most people do work at this. There are a few things you can do to “stand out” more, draw people in, and sparkle a little bit yourself! Here are a few simple things you can start practicing right away:
- Make eye contact for a couple seconds longer than you usually do. This might be uncomfortable at first, but you’ll find some surprising results. People will feel the urge to talk to you longer. They’ll feel that they have your full attention. If you worry your eye contact is more like a weird stare (it might feel this way in the beginning) just tilt back for a couple seconds to be a couple of inches farther away from the person you’re talking to and smile, then when you feel your face relax a little, tilt forward again. Also pay attention to how you’re standing. If your weight is more on one leg (it usually is), shift it to the other one. That can help relax too.
- Only wear things that make you feel comfortable. Those clothes you tug at because they don’t fit right, those shoes you have that make you limp because they hurt after an hour – throw them out! Your discomfort in these clothes really shows in your body language and it ruins the self-confidence you portray and your ability to connect cleanly and positively with people. Now, I understand you don’t have the budget to create a brand new wardrobe. But the next time you go shopping, don’t leave the store without trying stuff on and don’t buy it if you want to shift in it or tug on it. When you do buy clothes, wear them (carefully) at home for 20 minutes or so before you take the tags off. The same goes for shoes. You can also alter some clothes that don’t fit right. Take in your too-baggy items. If it’s tight, maybe sew a cool patterned panel in the back of a shirt, or a striking colored stripe down the outside seam of pants or a skirt. If a shirt or dress is too short, layer it under a longer shirt or skirt. Use a fun color combination that makes you smile (or neutral if that’s your thing). This applies to undergarments too. Comfort… no tugging!
- Find makeup and hair styles that make you feel confident. This can be a journey, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Visit a local cosmetology school for low-cost or even free haircuts, stylings, or makeovers. Tell them you’re trying to find the right cuts and colors and write down or take pictures of the colors they use. Remember that some styles look great on some people but might not look the same on you. That perfect shade of blonde may be beautiful but you may need one that is more yellow or beige for your skin tone. The same for the eyeshadow you admire on your favorite singer. Try new things, but if you feel unsure in it, change it back. The discomfort will show!
- Really be present! Stop thinking about your school assignment or Friday night out while you’re talking to people. Pay attention to only them. Put down your phone when you’re in a group discussion (unless you’re showing the group something fun on your phone). Really listen. This will allow you to respond in more insightful ways, to earn the trust, confidence, and respect of those around you.
- Walk and stand like you take up more room than you actually do. When you feel shy or nervous, your body language makes your body and expressions smaller. It feels closed-off to people. Expand your limbs and hold your head up high. Just practice it a little in the beginning. Try it while walking to get a slurpee or to the kitchen for breakfast. Then try it a little more each day. Next, you’ll throw in more eye-contact and smile at people as you pass by and you’ll be the girl who “lights up the room” when you walk into it!
Try one of these every week and after a month you’ll be a brand new, charismatic person! It will do wonders to claim your status as a leader.