How to Speak With Charisma
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Let's talk about how to speak with charisma. So first, I wanna play a little game. Let's play a little game together. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to pretend that you're coming into my lab and we're gonna play a game together. The first game is called the Community Game. The second game is called the Wall Street Game. Do you think that you would play these two games differently? So here's what they did in this lab experiment. They had you go part come into their lab and the first group was asked to play the Community Game. In this game, two-thirds of people shared profits. It was like a prisoner's dilemma kind of game. Two-thirds of profit sharing is pretty good. In the second group, they had you all come in, exact same game, exact same table, exact same setup, but they told participants they were playing the Wall Street Game. In this game, only a third of people shared profits. This is mind-blowing because these games were exactly the same. The prob...
lem is that just this one little word switch changed the way participants played. This is the first of many experiments that looks at how our words shape our behavior and our action. Your words are more powerful than you realize, especially opening words. I find that we tend to throw away our opening words but work really hard on our pitch or our presentation. Your headlines, your subjects, the first 10 words you say in a video call or a phone call or on a video or in a TikTok or a gram or a tweet or any of those things, I'm aging my itself, I know. Those first few words really matter. Here's a couple other studies to show you this. When people read words like fast, speedy, and young, they walk more quickly out of the lab. When people read words like polite, kind, and easy, they interrupt people less. They're in fact more polite. And this is where or gets really crazy. When people read words like collaborate, they are more likely to be collaborative. This is because our brain is constantly looking for cues. We are constantly looking for ways and reasons and ideas for how we should act and behave. So, especially, in those first few words we use, we need to signal to people how they can be their most charismatic self and how we wanna show up as our most charismatic self. I think this gives us so much power. I think that we can change an entire interaction with one single word, that if you open or label or use the right word, that can set end your people up for success if we use it. I'm embarrassed to say, I used to send emails like this all the time. So this is an email I used to send all the time to clients. See if it sounds familiar to you: "We're all set for the meeting next week. I'll prepare an overview and sample proposal for you to look at. Then we can review them. Let me know if you have any questions," (gibbers) right? This email gets the job done, but it is so boring, right? This is a danger zone email, undersignaling. We have the bare minimum amount of information possible. What if we thought about how we wanna come across this email? What if we thought about what kind of words could we set people up with? Just like the Community Game and the Wall Street Game, do we wanna use words that set people up to feel and think a certain way? So this is the exact same word count but I've underlined a couple of cues that begin to trigger success, begin to trigger charisma. "I'm looking forward to collaborating next week. I'll prepare a goal worksheet. No review of desired outcomes for both of us. We can work through everything together. Happy to answer any questions." This is such a simple change but the email feels different, right? With the same word count, just a couple of swaps, we begin to prime people or set them up or cue them to think differently. Remember, when people read words like together or happy, they're more likely to have a togetherness mindset. They're more likely to actually feel happy about meeting and collaborating. This brings me to my very first cue today. So cue number one is how we use charismatic verbal cues to people up for success. I want you to do a little word audit, a little verbal audit. What kinds of verbal cues are you currently using with the people you interact with? How are you setting them up for success? We can do this based on our warmth and our competence. When we look at the way that we use words, we can actually split them up into two different columns: the warm words and the competent words. So warm words, now, this is a little bit art, not exactly science. So for all my high-competent folks, if you're actively taking a list or you're creating a little dictionary for yourself, I want you to think of this as art, not science. So warm words trigger friendliness, collaboration, openness, trust. So words like friend, connect, cheers, open, together, excited, collaborate, happy, best, both, right? Those are like the warm and fuzzy words. That's how I like to feel about warm words. Competent words on the other hand, they want us to get things done. So competent words make us feel motivated, makes us wanna get up and do. So competent words: productive, brainstorm, effective, ready, power through, efficiently, knowledge, anything with charts, data, or percents. So these words not only change your charisma scores or your charisma cues, they also cue people differently. So if you send out an email or in your LinkedIn profile, or your website, or your marketing materials, or your proposal, you have a balance of warmth and competent words, you are hitting that sweet spot. You also can help others, prime them and cue them to be their warmest and most competent selves. Here's the problem. Most of us throw away our first 10 words. We open up a video call, get on a call, walk into a meeting, walk into a party, hop on a date, and we accidentally start with something negative. So ones I hear all the time: "Oh, I've been so busy," right? I feel like right now, if you ask someone, "So how are you?" Here's the answer universally, "Busy, busy. Good, but busy." That is the answer that everyone gives. The problem is if you say busy, you are not only looking less competent, warm yourself, busy is a danger zone word, right? No one likes to feel busy. You're also cuing them to think of how busy they are. Because in their brain, they're thinking, "Yeah, busy, busy. Me too. I've busy. Busy, yeah, busy." And then all you're talking about is how busy you are. So avoid the word busy, right? "My schedule is so crazy. I've been so stressed. What terrible traffic! Oh, this weather is horrible! Oh, those number! I'm so sorry I'm late." When you start with these words, you are changing the nature of your entire interaction. So I want you to take control of those first 10 words. I want you to think of something authentically positive you can say. This is not about fake. This is not about faking it until you make it. I don't want to comment with a positive cheerful face. That's just toxic positivity. But I do want you to think about, instead of sitting on your email right before a call or thinking about all the things you have to do right before a meeting, what is something authentically and genuinely positive that you can share? This can be small, right? It could be as simple as, "I've been so looking forward to this. I'm so happy to be here. What beautiful weather it is today. What an end to wonderful day. I love your Zoom background. What a lovely group of people." These don't have to be huge. These don't have to be life-changing but they can be interaction-changing. I think most of us also are accidentally doing this. So the moment we're more purposeful with our openers, The more we also share that competence that comes with that purpose. I want you to think about not only how someone should feel when they're interacting with you, but also how should they feel before interacting with you. When they open up your email, when they see your calendar invite, when they see your name pop up on their phone, what's the feeling that you want to gift? And I do believe that cues are gifts. I think we are constantly searching for cues that make us feel better, that make us feel like our warmest and most competent and most charismatic self. So if you can gift those cues, it also makes you a pleasure to be with. Here's another one I see all the time. So I open up my calendar multiple times a day. Every single time, you or someone else opens their calendar and sees your calendar invite, they are being primed. The problem is, is most of our calendars are filled with generic danger zone terms. Call, meeting, conference, one-on-one, overview, negotiation, oh, that's the worst one. Talk about striking terror in the hearts of an introvert or someone who hates talking about money. Instead, I want you to think about, is there a way that you can change your calendar invites, the titles of your meetings, even what's on top of your agenda to be a little bit more cue worthy? What can you cue someone for? Collaborative session, strategy session, goal meeting, creative time, accountability hour, 2022 wins. These sounds small, but remember if someone's opening up their calendar at the start of the week, start of the day, five or six times a day, every single time they open their calendar, they are being cued to be their best selves by you. And that is a gift. If you want someone to be warm, call attention to their warmth. Use warm and fuzzy words in your agendas and your emails and your calls. If you want someone to be competent, call attention to their competence. Use productive, efficient, capable terms. Remember that those are gifts that we are looking for. So here's my challenge for this section. All right, after this video, I want you to open up your email sent folder. This can be painful, I know, but it's really important to see how you come across. I want you to open up your email sent folder and I want you to pull up a recent important message. So this could be to a client, to a colleague, to a friend, to a boss. Pull up that recent important message. Bonus points if you can do five important messages, and I want you to do an email audit. I want you to count how many warm versus competent words do you use. So in that email or in those five emails, how many warm words are you using and how many competent words are you using? One or two things is gonna happen here. Either you're gonna find, "Wow, I am so high in one part of the scale," or you're gonna find no cues at all. And this means you are undersignaling. So if you're having trouble pinpointing any kind of cue words, any kind of words that give you the warm and fuzzies or the capables, that should be an equivalent for warm and fuzzies, the capableis, the powerfuls, all those, those are cues that cue you for competence. If you are undersignaling, you will have trouble finding any of those words at all, and that means you're in the danger zone or your emails are in the danger zone. And why this is critical is not only because you are then not coming across as your most charismatic self. This could be the reason people don't reply quickly to your emails. It could be the reason why people won't get back to you or say yes in the room, but no when they get home. If this happens to you where you have a great meeting with a client, you're talking to them, you're bonding, you're connecting, and then you're like, "Great, I'll send you my rate, my proposals," and then you hear nothing. It could be that you're undersignaling in your emails, that your in-person reactions are different from your email reactions. So I want you to do that little email audit. Count how many warm versus competent words. I wanna make a special note. So emojis, where do those fall? Definitely warm. So if you have an exclamation point, a smiley face heart, or any emoji, or a yay, fab, whoop, any of those, those are warm. They count as one warm word. So by the way, every exclamation point is a warm word. So three explanation points, those are three warm words. Okay, so that's warmth. Competence, data, numbers, prices, percent, charts, graphs, statistics, those are all competent. Those count as one competent point. I have to share this because it just made me laugh. So I'm a huge fan of Tim Urban. He's a very highly competent blogger of Wait But Why. He tweeted this out: "I spend a lot of time deciding which sentence in the email is gonna have to take one for the team with the exclamation point." 525 retweets, 68,000 likes. This is a highly competent person. Even the way that you emote, the way that you exclaim can change based on your warmth and competence. Here is a warm reply. So warm reply, "I always start with an exclamation point after every sentence, then realize, 'Wait, they can't all have exclamation points. I sound like a lunatic.' Then pare them back one by one until only a single exclamation point remains." I share this small ecosystem, this difference between competence and warmth because even the way that we decide to use exclamation points can be dictated by our warmth and competence. Even down to the smallest communication metric, an exclamation point, it changes based on our warmth and competence. So again, remember your exclamation points, those count as double warm points. If you are not sure, if you're here, you've done this audit and you're like, "I still don't know if I'm warm or competent," I want you to take our official charisma quiz. So this is free. You can take it as many times as you want. scienceofpeople.com/charisma, this diagnostic will help you identify where you fall. It's a more comprehensive deep dive into your warmth and competence. Also, if you feel like you're being your best self but you wanna know how you actually come across, this diagnostic can help kind of uncover what that real charisma score might be. Bonus challenge for you here: Take the quiz, get your results, take a little screenshot, and then send it to someone you work with, and ask them to take it as you. Remember, you can take this as many times as you want. So I sent it to my colleague, my husband, and a former client and I had them take the diagnostic as me. This is a great way to audit not only how you think you come across to others but how you actually come across to others. That will give you intel on how you come across, that we don't have to guess if you're coming across as higher at warmth or competence. We know exactly where you come across and that's how you dial up or down. So based on these results, if you're coming across as really high on the warm side, I want you to use more competent words. On the other hand, if you're coming across really high on the competent side, I want you to dial up your warmth words. Do this in your LinkedIn profile, your website, your marketing materials, your resume, your emails, your canned responses, your social profiles. Those are all sending off signals to the world about your warmth and competence. And so based on these results, I want you to dial up into warmth or dial down into competence or dial up into competence, down to warmth depend on how you are, to make sure that you're hitting that sweet spot. (bright music)