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Catching up this month with our year long series on a “Guide to Charm” applying the tips from the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, to our daily lives. So far this year we have covered the following steps:
- Step 1 Hair and Makeup
- Step 2 Hands and Feet
- Step 3 Posture and Weight
- Step 4 Cleanliness and Sleep
- Step 5 Defining Chic
- Step 6 Your Wardrobe
- Step 7 First Impressions
Outgoing Person Listen
Today’s step focuses on our outgoing personality. What makes an outgoing person? According to the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, an outgoing person is one who is genuinely interested in other people in things that happen to them.
Now that’s not to say you must hang on every word of the individual you are speaking with, or share the same passion for say, stamp collecting as they obviously do. Instead here the key here is to be a good listener.
Listening to others shows you that you not only have interest in them, but you respect them enough to hear what they have to say.
A good Listener
There are lots of books and articles related to being a good listener. One recent article by Verily blog, listed 5 ways to become a better listener. These steps included:
- Limit distractions
- Adjust your body language
- Ask questions
- Avoid being solution focused
- Don’t interrupt
Sadly after looking at this list, I’m an awful listener, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn to be a better one.
Limit distractions by giving the person you are talking to your full attention, in other words put away your smartphone and social media. Body language is all about keeping eye contact to the speaker maintain a good posture and nod when you agree or understand. If you don’t understand ask questions, this shows you are listening and are interested in what they are saying. Avoiding trying to solve the speakers problem or giving away the punch line to the joke. Even if you have a solution for the speaker, wait until they finish explaining their problem, otherwise you might appear as a smart alec jerk. Lastly and probably the rudest of all behaviors is interrupting others, don’t do it.
Before You Talk
Now while being a good listener is important, a conversation often requires feedback. Thus, you also need to be able to talk. However, before you talk you need to have something to talk about.
If you are speaking with individuals who have common hobbies, careers or interest it makes it easy to start a conversation. However, the moment you notice their interest in the conversation fading it’s important to switch topics and not bore them.
Keeping abreast of current news allows you to have good conversation starters. You don’t have to be an expert on a subject, but a newsworthy story might prompt some debate within the conversation. While it’s easy to keep up with the latest news stories with the Internet and social media, make sure you double check your sources. Citing false sources makes you look like you are trying to hard and not really aware of the topic.
What not to talk about
Be aware of your audience, while lively debate is often encouraged don’t push touchy subjects among people, especially those you do not know well.
The authors of Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, make note that being genuinely interested in other people, is not to mean you are a busy body who gossips about the affairs of others. Gossip is never appropriate, it wasn’t in middle school and it isn’t now.
Don’t share all your troubles
Today with social media and the Internet we can be rather frank with people, total strangers about all our problems. However, the Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm book states that “Your troubles are yours”.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t seek the advice of a friend (offline or online) but don’t be a continuous victim. The example in the book is the individual who receives a compliment “You look lovely”, and then responds with “I might look lovely but I don’t feel lovely with my back ache and the kids and ….” basically it starts to sound like an endless gripe session, when all the first person was doing was giving a simple compliment.
Omit the Details
People’s time is limited so when conversing with others limit the details. Get to the point of your conversation or you might lose your audience. If you had a funny story about an incident you had on the bus, there is no reason to give a full backstory to why you were on the bus in the first place.
While this lesson in the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, focuses on an outgoing person in way of a conversation, this doesn’t mean it has to be a physical conversation. Today we do a lot of our conversing through the Internet, whether it’s through email or social media.
Personally I think these same steps need be applied to our modern mode of communication. Take social media for example can often become a gripe or gossip session.
Also, I’ve read several articles online about bloggers who share stories of their interest and get a bunch of negative comments from readers who say they have no interest in that topic. I’ll give an example, one blogger might post several posts about her kids, and some individuals without kids will give negative comments saying they’re sick of hearing about the kids. First off, unlike a physical conversation, you can skip that post, second off if that’s not something for you might prompt another topic, say with a comment like “Hey, I’d really love to hear more about recipes like you posted last month”.
There is no reason to be rude and nasty just because you are hidden behind the virtual wall of the Interwebs, come on people let’s not be Rat Babies and learn to be more charming!
Speaking of more charming, this month we will also be looking at step 9 which is about smarts.
Don’t forget you can copy of Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm, here.