Bet you’re better at building relationships than you give yourself credit for.
The key is to recognize in yourself the behaviors that people find naturally attractive and to be willing to build these likable qualities, and bring them out more often.
How many of these qualities do you have, and which could you cultivate even more?
1. You (wisely) mirror and match. To the extent that it makes sense, you mirror the other person’s body language and match her vocal quality.
This is important for two reasons. Reason #1: We like people we perceive to be like us, and when you mirror and match others, they feel you’re a kindred spirit.
Reason #2: When you have the same gestures at the other person, you’re brain fires off in a similar way to the way her brain is firing off. This makes it easier to understand what the other person’s thinking.
2.You genuinely care about how the other person feels.
When you care, it shows. When you don’t care, that also shows.
You’ve heard “fake it ‘til you make it.” This doesn’t work for you when it comes to empathy.
Here’s why: You can read someone’s nonverbal facial expressions and body language in about 17 milliseconds. If you’re faking your concern, there will be a lag in your face reflecting how you feel. And this will cause your conversational partner to pick up on your fake feelings.
Really take the time to listen, and think about how they must feel about what they’re talking about. This will help you share the moment with them, and this is a huge boost in building authentic relationships.
3. You give people the benefit of the doubt.
You assume the best about others. When they have little missteps in their behaviors or communication (and who doesn’t?) you don’t call them on it, or hold it over them.
Think for a moment how much happier you could instantly be if your default position were always to be assuming the other person means well.
The prolific and wise writer, Goethe, took this idea even further when he wrote:
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”
4. You help people feel important. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said to treat all people as though they have a sign around their necks that reads: Make me feel important.
It’s easy in a crazy busy world to find your mind wandering when you’re listening to someone. Bring your mind back to the present by focusing on your breath.
Try this! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast it brings you back to the present.
Say to yourself, “This person matters, and I will show her that by giving her the attention she deserves.”
5. You pick up on their emotions. Half the world’s population is below average communicators. And, when they’re upset, they get even worse at communicating!
Rather than listen to the specific words people use, and get caught up in the way they jumble their ideas, you look out for the emotions they’re feeling. Sad? Frustrated? Disregarded?
Connect with them by suggesting, for example, “You must have felt left out (or embarrassed, or disrespected.)” In doing this, you help them find the words they’re looking for and at the same time demonstrate the powerful quality of empathy.
Now, three bonus ideas for when you go to cultivate higher levels of charisma and people skills:
- Be willing to be practice until you naturally get good at really listening to how people feel about what they’re saying and what their opinions are. Extra points for you if you can listen respectfully to someone who holds an opinion contrary to yours.
- After the conversation, ask yourself, “What did I do to let them know I value them and respect their opinion?” “What could I do better next time?”
- Recognize that, as the wise, prolific author Goethe said “Everything is hard before it is easy.” And, if you’re shy or introverted (and, no, they aren’t the same thing) this could be harder for you. Stick with it, remind yourself of your core values that support your showing genuine concern and caring for others.
And before you know it, you’ll be even more authentically charismatic.
What relationship-building habits would you add to this list?