If someone asked you to list all the truly charming people you knew, you probably could without any problems. Charm is the quality of attracting or fascinating others, and it’s the ability to make other people like you. It’s having charisma and being a genuine people-person.
To some, charm is old-fashioned — like being polite and having good manners — but anything that makes someone feel a bit better after an encounter is always something to be prized. We’re drawn to charming people; you’d rather deal with a charming person than someone who was rude, aggressive and blunt.
So here are four ways you can up your own charm factor.
1. Change your pitch.
A form of speech known as vocal fry, which is low in pitch and creaky-sounding, is increasingly common among young women. A 2014 study found that people who spoke with vocal fry were thought of as less trustworthy, educated, competent, attractive and likeable than people with a so-called normal voice.
The negative perceptions of vocal fry are stronger for female voices relative to male voices. A pleasant-sounding voice is easier on the ear and would definitely make you more charming.
2. Think quickly on your feet.
A study published in Psychological Science found that if you’re quick on your feet, you’re more charismatic. The study’s research showed that people who were able to respond faster to general knowledge questions and visual tasks were thought of as more charming by their friends, independently of IQ and other personality traits.
In addition, mental speed can also make it easier to hide inappropriateness and be funny on the spot. It might be time to take that improv class after all.
3. Cut out the humblebragging.
Humblebragging is just bragging masked by a complaint. “I hate it when I’m upgraded to first class and they run out of champagne.” Most people can see your humblebrag for what it is: a brag-brag.
A Harvard Business School study found that, although people often choose to humblebrag when they want to make a good impression, it’s actually terrible to use as a self-promotional strategy; it makes the humblebragger seem less likeable and more insincere. In fact, humblebragging is less effective than actual complaining because complainers are seen as sincere.
4. Work on being trustworthy.
People are drawn to others they feel that they can trust. One study asked participants to rate what characteristics they thought were most important in someone they had to work with in a number of social situations (playing sports, working on a work project), or what they’d prefer in a relationship (close friends, co-workers).
The characteristic that was rated the highest was trustworthiness. A sense of cooperation and warmth was considered more important to likability over things like physical attractiveness.
In the end, when it comes to being charming, old-school characteristics like sincerity, honesty, and being a team player will draw people to you. If you have a sense of humor to get you out of tricky situations or see the funny in your own fails, even better.