Charm. It's a slippery thing to try to define in concrete terms, but like pornography, you know it when you see it, don't you? It's about being engaging, memorable and likable. In a slightly cynical view, it's like sales. It's all about making people feel good about dealing with you—be it in a business meeting, at a friend's party or simply with your Uber driver. And it can certainly serve you well in this life. Here are ten surefire ways to turn up the charm at work, on dates and in general.
Be gracious. As Maya Angelou famously said, "At the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel." A charmer makes the person they're talking to feel like the most important person in the room. And why not? At that very moment, they should be—you're sharing a moment, both giving your time and learning from one another. Have fun and be thankful for the person's time.
Connect. Nod your head as someone speaks. It's a slight action that's almost imperceptible, but it universally communicates understanding, respect and positivity.
Listen more than you talk. Let others speak and respond as necessary. No need to jump in to make a point. Think of it this way: You already know what you know ... you want to know what they know. Which makes them feel important.
Learn names. Perhaps the only thing worse than that sinking feeling you get when you forget someone's name is realizing that another person has forgotten your name. Charming people remember names and even small details, so try to study up before going into a meeting. And when introduced to someone new, repeat their name soon after hearing it to help log it in your memory.
Be willing to show a little vulnerability. Charming people don't try to win any unstated competitions, especially with people they've just met. In fact, sometimes they actively try to lose. They're self-deprecating and complimentary. They're impressed with others' accomplishments. They're even willing to admit a weakness or a failure.
Be agreeable. Focus on connection rather than confrontation. That positivity keeps everyone in a better mood and any difference of opinion comes off as considerate and understandable.
Stay true to your word. This is the difference between being a reliable charmer and being a bullshit artist. You're not just blowing smoke here. Back up your words with actions and follow through when you say you'll do something.
Mind your body language. Be conscious of your posture. Project an image of confidence by standing up straight with your shoulders back. If you're sitting, then make sure to sit up straight and give your full attention. Smile. Maintain eye contact, but try focusing on one eye at a time. Staring blankly into both eyes can be interpreted as you're bored or perhaps too intense. Switching focus from one eye to another feels much more natural and engaging.
Take a risk (or two). People gravitate towards charmers because they have a genuine interest in the world around them and encourage others to enjoy themselves. This is when your imagination comes in handy: embrace the unconventional and try to turn run-of-the-mill occasions into something that matters. You want the people around you to feel like this was an unforgettable experience.
Make a physical connection. This one should come with a bit of a disclaimer: read your audience and be appropriate. Nothing sucks the charm out of a situation like awkwardly touching someone. But charming people are typically known for being engaging and one clear way to engage with someone is through friendly affection—be it a hearty handshake, hug, pat on the back or playful punch to the arm. That sort of physicality makes the other personal feel special, thus perpetuating the charm.
Volume 9 // 2017
When we started our 31 Days series, way back in 2009, it was an idea that began out of the natural tendency to see the new year as a restart of sorts. Each day, we put up a short tip or trick to help readers get a fresh start to the new year and step up their game. Then we did it again the next year and it's grown every year since, proving to be one of Valet.'s most popular series ever. This year, nearly a decade in, we've shifted the focus just a touch—narrowing in on skills and attributes we believe make you a better man. Little things that have a big, lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Everyday this month, we'll introduce a topic or idea aimed at helping you look your best, feel great and be the civilized 21st century gentleman we all strive to be. Best of luck in 2017 and thanks for reading.