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How great would the world be if everyone we ran into was charming? Just imagine a life free of negativity and overflowing with life-affirming enthusiasm. You can’t persuade others to be more charming, but you can add your own bit of charm to the world and improve your life — and others’ — in the process.
Wouldn’t it be nice if people remembered you for your charisma? As a real estate agent, being more charming can equate to winning multiple offer situations, getting more listings and booking more appointments. And not only will clients and prospects find you more appealing, but you’ll likely notice that other agents will enjoy working with you, which can mean more agent referrals.
Here’s the good news: charm is a learned trait. So, if you want to be more charming, here are 10 ways to boost your charm factor with very little effort.
1. Recognize everyone as a unique individual
There’s almost nothing more gratifying to people than the sound of their own names. Make it a point to remember names, and that skill alone will increase your charm quotient exponentially.
There are an array of memory tricks you can employ to build this skill. (P.S. The trick of using a new names four times in the first five minutes has become such an obvious ploy that it’s now just creepy. So find an alternate memory aid that’s more subtle. If all else fails, take a cell photo surreptitiously, and label it for later review.)
Remembering names is easier for some people than others. But practice and memory aids help. Nothing charms more than you remembering the name of a new acquaintance and where you first met. It also permits you to greet the person by name and flash a big smile the next time you see him or her.
The sub-point to no. 1 is smile like you enjoy people in general. Life is just too short not to (unless you’re at a funeral, and even then a fleeting smile can be the right move).
Plus, “resting bitch face” is never charming!
2. Listen more, and pay rapt attention to what others say
You don’t charm people by talking, you do it by listening. It makes them feel important, which is 90 percent of the way to dazzling charm. Ask questions to get the conversational ball rolling.
Listen carefully to the answers, and note especially what the speaker is most excited about. Make a point to ask follow-up questions that demonstrate how closely you’ve been paying attention to the things that matter most to this person.
For example: if someone remarks that they adore flowers, as soon as you can do so without interrupting, ask them to tell you more about their passion. Do they garden? Do they visit flower shows? Do they arrange flowers? How does their love of flowers manifest itself?
3. Be supportive instead of competitive
If someone wants to talk about a recent success, don’t try to match their accomplishment with one of your own. This is also known as being a one-upper.
Instead, acknowledge their amazing achievement, and ask them to share the keys to their success. Authentic interest and genuine praise are among the greatest compliments you can pay another person. Plus, you might pick up some useful tips for your own future ventures.
4. Treat everyone with respect and genuine warmth
It’s easy to be charming and respectful with our clients, bosses, successful brokers, lenders and others we work with regularly. But the most charming people give everyone, including gatekeepers and service providers, their respectful attention.
It’s also in your self-interest to cultivate a good relationship with gatekeepers and service providers, as they are far more often in a position to help advance your cause than their bosses, whom you are only able to reach through them.
5. Surprise people with the little things
Remember our flower lover? If he does you a favor, or you simply want to cultivate him, send or drop off a token that reflects his passion — tickets to a garden show, a note alerting him to a private sale of heirloom plants or an orchid for his office.
To do so acknowledges his individuality and conveys that you pay attention to details that matter to the people you know and value.
Pro tip: Too few people employ handwritten notes any more. They still bring joy to the recipient and generate outsized charm points for the sender.
6. Make eye contact
It’s not a stare-down, but maintaining a civilized level of eye contact when you’re talking with someone is simply more charming than multitasking, which signals that they don’t require your full attention, or worse, that you’re insincere.
So put the paperwork down, quit fiddling with your coffee, put your phone away, and do one thing charmingly well: pay attention, which requires both looking and listening.
7. Ask for help (that doesn’t involve money)
In many cases, it’s flattering to be asked for help and advice. Ask things like:
- What do you think about doing this?
- Do you have any experience that could help me with this problem?
- Can you recommend a good dentist, bricklayer, housekeeper, etc.?
- Can you get me an appointment with (whomever)?
Such requests put the other person in the giving seat, which is always a happier place than the receiving spot. And, when they’ve done you a favor, you get to thank and reward them for their assistance, which builds your charm credits!
8. Be upbeat
You don’t have to be Pollyanna to find the best in even the worst situation. Plus a positive — and non-judgmental — outlook is so much more charming than griping, whining and being all judgey.
So, be positive because you can only control your attitude to situations and not the situations themselves in most cases.
9. Be self-deprecating and funny whenever appropriate
Obviously, you’re not going to resort to low humor in the middle of a life-or-death situation. But if you’ve made a truly goofy move and don’t mind tattling on and laughing at yourself, you’ll create the feeling that you may take life, your work and your relationships seriously — but yourself, not so much. And shared laughter is always charming.
10. Believe you are charming, whatever your temperament
So get yourself out there, and start making the world a more charming place!
Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.