Add some charisma to your support

I just read The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane, and I found it a wonderful source of inspiration for support — despite its obnoxiously self-help subtitle. Here are some lessons for anyone in a support or service role:

  • Your goal is to be present, powerful (I would prefer “assertive” or “confident”), and warm.
  • In support, the most important components are presence and confidence to develop what the author calls “focus charisma”. Too much warmth may make for an uncomfortable experience for the customer.
  • Physical and mental obstacles can get in the way. So wear comfortable clothes and practice small ways of letting go of worry. For instance focus on the breath (a classic technique) or on how your toes feel (try it, it’s uncanny!)
  • Name feelings dispassionately, a la “Impatience is felt”.
  • Visualize success vividly. It will prime your entire body to perform well (plus you will feel like an Olympic athlete).
  • Pause two seconds before you answer. It gives you time to think — and magically removes the risk of interrupting.
  • Bring your voice down at the end of sentences.
  • Avoid excessive verbal reassurance (or nodding, if you are face to face). Replace with silence, or longer pauses.

Sounds like I need a lot of work on this pausing business! Impatience is often felt.

What are your techniques for increasing your ability to connect with people?

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