Tricks of the Trade Charming people use these tactics:
- Make eye contact – When you are in a conversation, do you wonder how much eye contact is enough? Actually, 100% is about right. When you make eye contact, don’t use a focused gaze, which can be intimidating and unproductive. Instead, use a tactic called the “flick,” shifting your gaze back and forth to the other person’s eyes.
- The “head tilt” – A dog tilts its head in your direction when you are speaking to indicate that it can listen longer. The same holds true for people. The head tilt is functional and charming. It makes you look inquisitive and it increases your ability to make the other person acknowledge that you are listening.
- Nodding your head – This indicates that you are paying attention, and it shows your level of agreement and excitement. Nodding your head at people indicates that you acknowledge their presence.
- Listen to yourself – If your voice is shrill, monotonous or unpleasant, people won’t want to listen to you. Work on improving the sound of your voice and adding “warm, full” and animated tones. Practice using a mirror or a tape recorder.
- The power of humor – Smiling and laughing show that you enjoy being with people. Humor is a shortcut to being charming; it creates a positive attitude and a mood that spreads to others. When you want to be happy or enthusiastic, but you are not, you can pretend that you are. This produces emotions that can make you genuinely happy or enthusiastic. Your actions can change your inner feelings. Even on the phone, a smile or a laugh can help you charm your listener.
- Say “uh-huh” and use other vocal prompts – Reponses such as “uh-huh” and “aah” tell other people that you are listening as they speak. These voice prompts also help move the speaker along, since they indicate your involvement. Other reassuring responses – such as “really?” or “interesting” – indicate that you are keeping up and absorbing the information. Others may interpret these words as signs of mild encouragement. To become more involved, say that you agree with the speaker. Tone of voice plays a major role when providing voice prompts.