Being a Human Magnet Is Key to Your Company's Success. Here's What That Means. Charisma will only get you so far without true empathy. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
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Former President Barack Obama is probably the epitome of human magnetism. Nearly every speech he's given has been perfectly calibrated in tone, authority and inspiration.
When you watch him talk, you feel that force of attraction — he's similar to other great leaders of the past and present who not only knew what to say but how to say it.
Now don't get me wrong. I know that most great leaders have speech writers; but here's the thing — not everyone can pull it off. Not everyone can simply speak words that make them riveting to watch.
What exactly is this trait, you might ask? This magnetism pulls you toward someone. I believe it has something to do with being captivating — someone who possesses that rare quality of charisma you can't turn away from.
In my 16 years of running my own form-building company, I've learned it's an essential quality leaders should possess. Because when you can influence the people around you, it makes you unstoppable.
"No matter the situation, being able to speak with confidence, whether you're interviewing for a job, making a presentation, or trying to woo someone shows others you're worth being taken seriously," writes Victor Mong for Medium.
For this reason, I'd like to speak more about what I believe are some strategies to cultivate this quality.
How to become a human magnet
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, American writer Dale Carnegie discusses the ways people can develop key relationships of all kinds. But one of his most illuminating quotes, in my opinion, is this: "To be interesting, be interested."
Why? Because people care when you care. People feel the passion you emanate when it doesn't just revolve around you and your egotistical motivations.
I know that my greatest mentors — whose leadership skills inspire my own — have had this quality. They are interested in others far more than they're interested in themselves.
So, the first step to becoming a human magnet is to turn your interest outward. "Talk to someone about themselves and they'll listen for hours," Carnegie recommends. But this also has to come from a genuine place within yourself where you can harness both your curiosity and your empathy.
Leaders make speeches all the time. Some fail terribly. And I believe one of the key reasons is because they place their ego above all else.
Confidence is essential
In a previous speech, Obama stated a simple truth that resonated greatly: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for."
As leaders and entrepreneurs, we can relate to this sentiment, because we've set out to create something new; whether that be an innovative product or service. But it won't come about without the confidence needed to pursue it and to convince others they should believe in our vision, too.
Being a human magnet requires grit and confidence in our capabilities and ideas. According to Mong, we can display this to others in different ways: by telling engaging stories as lessons, using strong metaphors and projecting a belief in ourselves that others can aspire to. He writes:
Charisma goes beyond just being a polished and engaging speaker. People admire you not only for your ability to engage them but also for the way you make them feel when you talk. This is why they're drawn towards you if only to savor such moments.
Whenever I give a speech, I think about great leaders from the past and present. I've watched countless TED Talks and noticed how each person's personality shines through in their unique way. It's helped me define my leadership style and way of communicating with others. I am (thankfully) not the same speaker I once was 16 years ago, because I've wanted to grow, and garner people's full attention—not only in my business but in other areas of my life as well.
Don't be afraid to get vulnerable
In 2020, I wrote about my experience of being hospitalized because of Covid-19. It felt extremely vulnerable to expose that so publicly, but it also did something else: it opened up new dialogues and conversations across my company and beyond. Because I laid bare what I had gone through, it gave others permission to feel at ease talking about their struggles and sharing their own difficult experiences. I give this example because without vulnerability, it's impossible to be a human magnet.
Why? Because of this simple truth: We're attracted to those who are authentic and brave about what they've gone through.
In having the courage to express hard things, we're passing on that same torch of bravery so that others can feel free to do the same. Now, when I speak of my hospitalization, I let people know that even though it was difficult, I'm grateful for the soul searching and reflection that came out of that period.
I like to remind my team that vulnerability — whether that involves sharing a challenging past or mental health issues — is all welcome at my company. We're not robots who can just live to be productive — we're real human beings with emotions and scars, and it's important for me that people feel seen.
Because ultimately, charisma without empathy and compassion is just some empty illusion we're projecting.
True magnetism is about being brave and showing up as our most authentic selves — with our flaws and all so that those around us can do the same.
Finally, there's one last quote I'd like to share by the incomparable poet Maya Angelou that drives this point home best: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
I couldn't agree more.