Charm School: 8 secrets of charismatic stars
- Next1 of 8Audrey Hepburn: Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images
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- Previous Next3 of 8Gregory Peck: Gene Lester/Getty Images
- Previous Next4 of 8Elizabeth Taylor: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Charmed, I'm Sure1 of 8
By Shannan Rouss
For certain Hollywood legends, charisma seems like second nature—and maybe it is. But that doesn't mean you can't learn to be the most magnetic person in the room. According to Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, "Charisma is the result of specific nonverbal behaviors, not an inherent or magical personal quality." Here are eight tricks for turning on the charm.
Stand Tall2 of 8
Your mother was right: Stop slouching. Instead of standing hunched, making yourself appear small and closed off, try opening up your stance, keeping your shoulders back and taking as much space as you need. Studies show that assuming this "superhero stance" actually reduces cortisol (the so-called stress hormone) and increases testosterone, a hormone that's associated with power and strength.
Pace Yourself3 of 8
Here are Cabane's tricks for boosting your charisma in conversation: Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of sentences, speak slowly, nod sparingly, and pause for a solid two seconds before responding. Another helpful tip? Smile (or even just think about smiling) while you speak to give off "vocal warmth."
Listen Up4 of 8
In order to have presence, you must be present, says Cabane. This means listening attentively when someone else is speaking to you. To improve your "presence," Cabane suggests trying to meditate—even for just a minute a day. The good news is that so few people are ever fully present that getting a little better at it will make a big difference.
Look 'Em in the Eye5 of 8
Similar to being present, making eye contact is a critical component of charisma. Cabane recommends maintaining eye contact for a full three seconds at the end of a conversation. Just avoid the Blue Steel gaze. Your eyes should appear relaxed with a look that's more soft than intense.
Copy That6 of 8
As Cabane writes, "People feel most comfortable with those who are similar to them in some way, including appearance and behavior." A shortcut to putting others at ease? Mimic their body language. It will trigger a feeling of trust and camaraderie.
Be Vulnerable7 of 8
Charisma isn't about being constantly strong and assertive. Revealing a weakness or sharing an embarrassing story can foster a sense of connection between you and others. After all, "people love secrets," says Cabane.
Picture This8 of 8
While there's nothing wrong with showing some vulnerability, you don't want to come off as a nervous Nellie—especially in group situations. If you're feeling anxious before a meeting or at a friend's party, Cabane says to imagine being hugged by someone you love. (Just do so discreetly.) Research has shown that thinking about a warm embrace can rev up oxytocin, a neuropeptide that counteracts stress.
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