You’re probably an amazing person. But can others see this, or are you just keeping all of your awesomeness to yourself – making it hard to connect with other people and difficult to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships?
To become more charismatic, you don’t have to change yourself or your personality – charisma is purely the marketing, and not the product. You just have to adopt a few habits that will positively change the way you interact with other people. Not only will others perceive you as a more interesting and fun person to be around, but – more importantly – you will have the ability to consistently engage in interesting and fun conversations that you actually enjoy. You will be able to develop deeper friendships, have better interactions, and actually show more of yourself to the other person – while allowing them to show you more of themselves as well.
1. Be more interested
To be interested is to be interesting!
People love talking about themselves – actually, everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. Everyone is capable – and more than willing, if asked the right questions – to go on-and-on about themselves: their day-to-day lives, their experiences, their opinions, dreams, goals, and passions. But most people don’t show genuine interest towards others: most people are just waiting for the right moment to interrupt the other person to start a monologue about themselves! This leads to conversations becoming competitions with no winners – if both of you are just trying to blurt out as much information about yourselves as possible, impress each other, or just top each other’s stories with even more amazing stories, then at the end of the day, neither of you will have come to like – or know – the other person better.
On the other hand, if you show genuine interest towards the other person, you will instantly come off as an interesting and confident individual. Encourage the other person to talk about themselves by asking open-ended questions and actively listening to what they have to say, and I promise you that they will grow to be curious about you eventually. They’ll feel that despite opening up to you so much, they still barely know anything about you…
And this is when the magic happens: they’ll sacrifice talking about themselves in order to get to know you better. They’ll start asking you questions and they’ll actually be interested in what you have to say – instead of just passively listening while trying to figure out what to say next.
With that being said, you should only show genuine interest towards people you actually find interesting and whom you want to develop a deeper connection with. Only dive deeper into topics that you actually want to have a conversation about. Don’t waste hours of your day listening to some random person talking about something you don’t give a shit about! Don’t be a people-pleaser, but actually gain a great experience from the conversation – otherwise it’s just not worth it!
2. Whatever’s on your mind…
What do you think the greatest barrier to meaningful conversations are?
Every time I ask myself this question, I come to the same answer: people aren’t willing to share their thoughts. Think about it…
How many times have you withheld a joke, because you decided it wasn’t funny enough?
How many times have you kept your thoughts to yourself, to avoid actively disagreeing with another person?
How many times have you stopped yourself from telling a story, because you though it wasn’t interesting enough?
The list goes on-and-on forever, but I think you get the point. If you don’t speak whatever’s on your mind, you’re not being totally honest with the other person. You’re creating an artificial barrier to having a deeper conversation that can potentially lead somewhere. You’re letting your own lack of confidence get in the way of connecting with someone you find interesting by hiding your true self.
To avoid this from happening, you have to make an active effort. First of all, I recommend you develop a sense of deep self-confidence, so you care less about what other people think about you. Secondly, whenever something pops into your mind that you want to tell the other person, just say it before even thinking about whether you actually want to tell them or not. This will help avoid overanalyzing each word and sentence that forms in your mind. Finally, if you feel stressed out or socially anxious, I’ve found that this natural supplement helps ease stress and anxiety – although supplements are great temporary quick-fixes, they don’t actually build long-term confidence, so I don’t recommend relying on them alone!
3. Convey positive emotions
All of us have bad days, worries, and negative thoughts. Shit happens. But just because you’re talking to someone doesn’t mean that you should dump all of your shit onto them. Talking about your genuine problems is just a part of life, and you should do that from time-to-time – especially with friends and family. But constantly complaining about something, being unsatisfied and ungrateful, hating on others, and victimizing yourself are all fool-proof ways to make people want to avoid you.
If you’re constantly draining the emotional energy of other people by complaining or gossiping, then you’ll just come off as a negative person who pulls others down. Now, I’m not saying you should be artificially positive either – honesty is more important than positivity! But instead of constant negativity, you should change your mindsets, get your shit together, be more grateful in life, and give less shits about all the meaningless stuff. You should use your negativity-card wisely, so you don’t become the boy who called wolf by always having something bad to share – even when there really isn’t that much shit going on – only to be left alone when a true problem arises! And even then, don’t force the topic at all costs, sense when you’re starting to overwhelm the other person!
Pro tip here: if you have negative thoughts that are preventing you from focusing on anything else, just ask the other person for some advice! Most people just love spreading wisdom and giving advice – so they’ll probably be more engaged in the conversation, and they’ll also feel more involved in your problems!
4. Make your words reflect your feelings
This story is about a guy I once knew, let’s just call him Bill. Now, Bill was a friendly dude with lots of good qualities, and a job that he was very proud of – he worked his ass off to get that job, and he worked even harder to keep it. He not only earned his job through long hours of grinding and dedication, but he also found his work to be interesting and meaningful. This is about that one time at a party when many of us were sitting around a table enjoying our cold beers and talking about our career-outlooks, plans for the future, and our dream-jobs.
Hey Bill, so what do you do? – someone at the table asked. It was time for Bill to shine – at least that’s what I thought. He could have given so many anchor-points for others to connect with him or have an interesting conversation with him. He could have told us about his field of work, his dream-job, industry-secrets, or he could have at least shared some of his core values: hard work, determination, things he loved about his job, or things he hated about it.
Instead, Bill took a more simplistic approach: Nothing special. I just type numbers into a table and create graphs. – and with that the conversation shifted away from him for the rest of the night.
I’m not saying that Bill should’ve started bragging. But he could have taken the opportunity to go deeper into a topic that he was otherwise really passionate about. He could have started an amazing conversation by allowing his words to reflect his feelings. He was amused by his job, the work he was doing, and the constant challenges he had to overcome. But he decided to keep his feelings to himself – thus giving the most uninteresting answer possible. Now, I’m not judging: if Bill felt good about sitting silently all night in the corner while listening to other people talk, then he did a perfect job at achieving that. But if he wanted to connect with others, have great conversations, and get to know everyone else – while also sharing more of his own personality – he should have taken the opportunity to open up to us and get everyone curios about what he has to say.
This is true for whatever feelings you have. We’re not robots! You should only dive deeper into topics that you’re interested in or excited about – and you should let your words reflect your feelings.
5. Learn to tell good stories
Telling good stories is an art. I know people who have the best stories in the world, but still fail to keep their audience engaged; and I know others who have average stories, but tell them in a way that has everybody hooked and wanting more.
Now, I might write an article about telling good stories in the future (make sure to follow Vikingfinity, so you don’t miss that one!), but for now, I’ll give you a few general guidelines:
- Don’t spoil the peak of your story up-front – rather build up to it gradually to keep the tension and the mystery alive longer
- Tell the story as you were reliving it – fill it up with emotions: you can make gestures with your hands, smile, play with the tone and speed of your voice, pause for a brief moment, make faces, or even act out parts of the story while telling it
- Don’t get caught up in the unimportant details: while telling a detailed story is good, you shouldn’t waste time on recalling every single unimportant aspect of your story – if you can’t remember it, just glide over it
- Engage your audience: telling a story shouldn’t be a long monologue – you should invite the other person into the story by using phrases such as: I’m sure you know the feeling…; You probably had a similar experience…; Can you relate?; Can you imagine that?; Do you understand what I’m saying?; Now, I don’t know how you would have reacted, but…
- Have a point in the story that you build up to, and end your story shortly after making your point
- Don’t start your story by degrading someone else’s story (Oh, that’s nothing – guess what happened to me?; If you think that’s impressive, wait till you hear my story; Wait, this is better!)
What’s your top tip to having more interesting conversations? Share it in the comments! Also, let me know if you’ve enjoyed this post by dropping it a like – and remember: my post about telling good stories is coming soon, so make sure you follow Vikingfinity to be among the first people to read it!