This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Wish you were a little more charismatic

We can all benefit from learning how to be found a smidge more charming by clients, even the humblest of introverts among us. Not in a disingenuous way, of course, but in a way that creates an immediate and meaningful connection. This Weekly Tip gives you an unexpected insight into how to do that—one that’s also surprisingly palatable and easy.

The key can be found in this story from The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, as told by my co-author Charlie Green:

A colleague and his wife were invited to an important company affair, a dinner party.  His wife was seated next to one of the key people at the dinner. She later said to her husband: “What a bore! I didn’t say two words all night; all he did was talk about himself.”

The next day the colleague ran into the bore, who told him: “Your wife is an absolutely fascinating woman.”

Turns out being found fascinating (or charismatic or compelling or magnetic) doesn’t have much to do with you at all, at least not in the usual ways.

Charlie’s first co-author, David Maister of The Trusted Advisor fame, emphasized this same point: Shift your focus away from trying to impress others with your smarts and/or wit—in other words, away from trying to make them feel good about you when they’re around you—and instead make an effort to be fascinated by them, and to have them feel good about themselves when they’re around you.

Think of it as a new and different take on charm school.

Make It Real

This week, bring to mind an upcoming opportunity to listen to one or more people. The more likely you are to be bored, the better. Then, bring your curiosity to bear. What questions might you ask? How might you convey you’re really listening?

Learn More


Check out our new eBook on Listening Mastery, if you haven’t already, or brush up on empathy as statements (not questions) in Chapter 6 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.


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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).