Fake It Til You Make It: How to Be a People Person Even If You’re Not

Office Tips by James Cai

For a lot of us being a “people person” feels not only unattainable but even laughable. Without a shred of charisma flowing through your veins, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never have that office charm you so often seek.

But we at Toner Connect are here to tell you that’s not true! With a few of these tried and true tips, you’ll be on your way to charming your way to the top.

When you think of “people person” the word charismatic comes to mind and unfortunately you may even assume that only people born with it have it.

Luckily for you, that’s actually not true. Unlike the color of your eyes or the height of your forehead, charisma is not something that will be predetermined by your DNA.

Are some people more gifted at it?

Yep, but all it takes is a little practice and you can master this skill as well.

To make it easier, we’ve assembled a list of the best ways to make it happen.

Try to Relate

A skill that can be particularly effective for those in customer service, being able to relate to the person you’re communicating with can be a huge benefit. Nothing strengthens a conversation more than the ability to empathize.

If you’re speaking with someone and they are experiencing something you can relate to, share it with them!

For example, if you’re sitting in an interview and the interviewer mentions having a disobedient dog and you had the experience of dog sitting a particularly bad pet, share it! The other person will enjoy hearing something personal from you and it will create an excellent repertoire for the rest of your engagement.

Just make sure you keep it short and never stray too far from professionalism.

Express Genuine Emotion

In an article written for Business Insider, psychologist Ronald Riggio says “Charismatic individuals express their feelings spontaneously and genuinely. This allows them to affect the moods and emotions of others” In other words, the excitement you feel for a project or an idea can rub off on others if you’re willing to let that emotion shine through.

Likewise, negative emotions can have the same impact.

Think Eeyore-ish behavior. Business Insider referred to it as “emotional contagion”.

How you feel can have a negative or positive impact on those around you.

One of Charles Dickens’s most (in)famous characters from A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge, after being greeted with a cheerful “Merry Christmas!” announced: “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”

As delightfully descriptive as that is, it’s not the best response to a holiday greeting.


Listen with an Intent to Ask

Nothing will play to your strengths of emotional connection more than listening to the person you’re conversing with.

Surprisingly, one of the best ways to become more charismatic is not by talking but to surrender the floor to the other person and hearing them out.

Similarly, asking questions will reiterate how well you actually listened. It will help make the other person feel heard and more importantly, significant to you. Keep in mind, listening goes hand-in-hand with body language.

Be aware of how you’re standing.

Are you facing the person? Are your eyes on your phone or their face? Are your arms in a relaxed position? Psychology Today agrees saying “By animating your body language, engage others.”

Sharing is Caring

You’ve probably noticed that being open about yourself goes hand-in-hand with building people person skills and you would be right. Certain things about your life should, of course, be kept private and decided by your own common sense and discretion but feel free to share exciting or enjoyable things.

Forbes points out that “when people come alive about their passions or hobbies, they immediately become a lot more charismatic.” Concluding that “being bored with life is never equated with charisma.”

Alan Carniol from Interview Success Formula noted that “When you talk about a passion-the challenge that keeps you up at night, the people about, how you want to impact the world for the better-your energy will come through.”

Think about the hobbies you’re currently enjoying. Have you been hesitant about sharing them with others? Keeping quiet about your collection of model cars? Think no one will like you if you admit to jamming to Barry Manilow every morning?

Think again!

Even if people don’t feel the same they’ll still enjoy getting to know you better and the energy you’ll radiate from sharing something you love. And no matter what anyone says, “Can’t smile without you” will always be a classic. Keep it real Manilow, keep it real.

Be Prepared

As the Boys Scouts of America like to say, “be prepared”. Now you’re probably asking what has that got to do with being charismatic? A lot actually. Think about the last office meeting you attended. Was there one person in the room that seemed to have all the right answers?

Either the presenter or attendee? Chances are that person was oozing confidence, and in turn, it fueled their charisma.

Want to know why? Just ask the Boy Scouts. They were prepared. In the same Forbes article, writer Simon Reynolds points out that “one of the most powerful ways to come across as charismatic is to really, really know your stuff.”

So the next time you’re preparing for a meeting, presentation, interview etc…go the extra mile to be as well prepared as you can. You’ll be surprised at how well your self-confidence will boost your people person skills.

Concern yourself more with building others up and you’ll be surprised at how frequently it will lift you as well.

Is that Humble Pie I smell?

One final thought for building your charisma is to make note of where you hold the value of your self-importance.

There is a big difference between someone who is confident and likable as opposed to someone who is egotistical and annoying.

Luke Evans gave an excellent example in his portrayal of the pompous and slightly insane Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Going so far as having the character proclaim that Belle only deserves him because “she’s the only one as beautiful as me”. Talk about your people person.

Ashley Stetts says in her Elite Daily article, “Those who are truly socially successful and charismatic never speak about all the stuff they have or all the amazing things that they’re doing, their reputation will speak for itself. Being humble is a very powerful quality that screams confidence and charisma, and it’s a shame that so few people realize this.”

Those who rely on others to pad their own ego will need it often. Even Gaston needed a whole tavern of people to sing his praises literally using his own name before he felt better.

Concern yourself more with building others up and you’ll be surprised at how frequently it will lift you as well.

Possessing the ability to charm people right and left doebs not have to be an impossible task. As with all things it will take practice and persistent but in the end, it will always pay off. You do have the skill to be the “people person” you’ve always dreamed of and with Toner Connect’s help, you have the potential to get there in the end.



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