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Charm School

A crash course in charisma

Do people like you? Do they really, really like you? Even if you're not a movie star, you still have to hone your personal magnetism. As an entrepreneur, you're your company's best spokesperson. But what if your charisma is lacking a bit?

In psychologist Andrew DuBrin's view, the solution is obvious: Build up your charisma muscles. "It's not easy to do," acknowledges the author of Personal Magnetism: Discover Your Own Charisma and Learn to Charm, Inspire, and Influence Others (Amacom), "but I think everyone can work toward becoming more charismatic."

How so? Start with the basics: Smile more readily, improve your handshake and appearance, and err on the side of optimism. If low self-confidence plagues you, says DuBrin, develop expertise that helps counteract those negative feelings. "If you do something well, people tend to attribute charismatic-like qualities to you," explains DuBrin.

It doesn't hurt to have a sense of humor, too. "When you're in a meeting," suggests DuBrin, "observe what other people do that makes people laugh."

Openness to and consideration of others is also critical, says DuBrin. "Sup-pose a customer gives you a big order," he says. "Instead of just sending an invoice, include a card saying, `It's a pleasure doing business with you.' This helps build strong relationships."

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This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Charm School.

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