7 Qualities of the Most Charming People

UPDATED: January 4, 2023
PUBLISHED: January 1, 2023
women with charismatic personality talking to friends

You know the guy. He’s poised. He’s confident. And when he speaks to people, it’s in a strong, measured voice and a relaxed tone. His words are well-chosen. Even his classy but understated appearance seems to fixate everyone around him.

But it’s not what he’s saying or how he looks. It’s his whole being.

As his voice and gestures indicate he’s nearly finished speaking, you feel inspired by not only his ideas but the ideas of your own which have begun budding from this place of emotion and passion.

This guy has it! But what is it? What do these personalities have that can inspire you and draw you to them? Is it speaking well or being socially skilled or projecting an attractive, exciting image? Actually, it’s all of that—and more.

It’s charisma. And we all know a charismatic personality when we see it, even if it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly why. But here’s my definition: Charisma is the ability to positively influence others by connecting with them physically, emotionally and intellectually.

It’s what makes people like you and enjoy being around you, even when they don’t know much about you.

The qualities of a charismatic personality.

But contrary to popular wisdom, charisma is not something you’re born with, like having blue eyes or brown hair. Instead, I think our personalities consist, let’s say, of a series of containers, like cups or glasses. Some are nearly empty, some brimming, yet others are partially filled to varying degrees. Together they constitute our potential charisma.

Here, as I see them, are the seven qualities of a person with great charismatic personality:

1. They carry themselves well.

Did you know you unconsciously send out signals to others? It’s your silent message. Maybe you look them right in the eye, or maybe you stare at your shoes when you talk. Perhaps you slump your shoulders, or maybe you square them assertively. You might smile naturally, or maybe you keep a straight face. All of these nonverbal signals shape your image.

2. Those with charismatic personalities are persuasive.

Everyone understands your message because charismatic people can distill complex ideas into simple messages.

3. They are smooth talkers.

You may have a zillion terrific ideas, but who will know if you can’t articulate them? You have an innate ability to speak well and communicate your thoughts.

4. People with charismatic personalities are good listeners.

Rarely taught and infrequently practiced, listening is nonetheless a key to communicating and making others feel special in your presence.

5. They are aware of space and time.

Though it is also often overlooked, use of spatial and temporal territories can make or break relationships.

6. People with charming personalities easily adapt to others.

Part of building rapport is understanding other people’s personalities, then adapting your own behavior to increase compatibility.

7. They have great ideas.

Regardless of how strong and persuasive a speaker you are, how adept you are at connecting with others or how well you listen, you’ve still got to have something to say, or you’ll just be an empty suit.

Why a charismatic personality is important.

Learning to improve your charisma is more important than ever—especially for leaders. But why? Because our expectations have risen. We’ve come to demand more from people than mere competence. We don’t readily accept those who squirm, stumble over their words and don’t quite look us in the eye.

In this era of empowerment, when we revere empathy and support, charismatic people stand out because they’re communicators who are able to see things from another’s perspective, and thus continually seek to find common ground.

Those with personal magnetism, or charisma, are usually self-confident optimists. Viewing almost all problems as solvable—focusing on desired results rather than possible failures—helps encourage people to step forward and convert fear into a challenge to face.

If you develop your charisma, you’re likely to do well in all aspects of life. Because, on several different levels, you’ll better connect with people. By definition, the charismatic person is more other-directed, more empathic. And that gives them more personal power, makes them more human—a big plus for anybody.

This article was published in April 2015 and has been updated. Photo by javi_indy/Shutterstock

Speaker Tony Alessandra is originator of the behavior assessment style tool The Platinum Rule and author of Collaborative Sellingand The NEW Art of Managing People.