Buffini & Company Blog

The Key to Charisma – an Interview with Vanessa Van Edwards

In every social interaction we have, we send tiny signals to others with our words, facial expressions, body language and vocal inflections. If we can control and leverage these cues, our personal and professional relationships can be hugely impacted and improved. I recently interviewed bestselling author and speaker Vanessa Van Edwards to discover the secret language of charismatic communication and learn how making simple adjustments to the signals we send can lead to phenomenal success.Here are her top three rules for practicing cues:

Don’t fake it

It’s vital to remember that you have a unique flavor of charisma. If you’re an introvert, you don’t have to fake being an extrovert. That would be exhausting! Instead, think about a way you can communicate that makes you feel like your authentic self. Where does your natural flavor of charisma fall?

Send clusters of cues

One cue never stands alone. For example, you can smile throughout an entire interaction, but it’s important to think how that one cue can be congruent with your entire body. How can you make your gestures, posture, voice and words all match? This is especially important in the first few seconds of a communication. Research has shown that 76% of our impression of someone is made in the first few seconds. If you can be a force of positivity in those first moments, it can really improve the entire interaction.

Know your nervous tells

A central thing to know about yourself is what you look like when you’re feeling nervous. A good way to find out is to record yourself recounting two things: something banal, such as what you had for breakfast, followed by your most embarrassing story. When you watch the video back, the first clip will show what you look like and how you act when you’re processing something that doesn’t make you nervous. The second clip will show what you look like when you’re sharing something uncomfortable. It’s vital to know your nervous cues in this way because you don’t want to accidentally send those cues when you’re trying to sell, pitch something or make a strong first impression.

Charismatic communication is the perfect blend of warmth and competence. It doesn’t matter if you’re extroverted or introverted, if you want to be charismatic you have to signal warmth, trust, collaboration and openness along with competence, power, capability and efficiency. By making simple changes to the cues you send, you can hit that sweet spot of charisma, teach the world how you want to be treated and achieve incredible success. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life”.

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