How to Make a Good Impression When You Don’t Feel Like You’re Naturally Charismatic

Not every young entrepreneur with a brilliant idea has the charisma needed to pitch it successfully. Making an impression is still a significant part of being a businessperson, and in the age of online interaction, genuine human rapport is a priceless commodity.

Luckily, natural charisma isn’t a necessity to be successful in business, as there are multiple methods young entrepreneurs can learn to make a direct impact on people they talk to. Below, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council discuss several strategies you can employ to get your message across and leave a lasting positive impression with the people you interact with. Here’s what they advise:

1. Be Authentic

Though I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, spoken at numerous large conferences, and lectured at top business schools, I am still an introvert and feel awkward in professional settings at times. To overcome that awkwardness, I’ve learned that being authentic and listening to what others say is critical to building real relationships. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Fem Founder

2. Ask Genuine Questions

Charisma isn’t the only successful trait for making new connections. Smile often and stick to the etiquette. Ask genuine questions and read up on small talk. Read more and often, and familiarize yourself with general topics relevant to your ideal audience, such as sports, art, or movies. Find common interests and your satisfaction is guaranteed. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

3. Make Eye Contact and Speak Openly

Being genuine goes above and beyond being naturally charismatic. In making connections, I make a sincere effort to look others in the eye, speak openly and candidly, and truly listen. It’s impossible to develop a real connection with someone if you aren’t honestly interested in what the other person has to say. Relationships are built by a mutual desire to hear and learn from one another. – Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing

4. Smile and Listen

Smiling is so important, and so are manners and thoughtful gestures. It’s also more important to listen, make eye contact, nod, and acknowledge than it is to make small talk. That’s because people want to be heard and taken seriously, so when you do these little things, it makes a big impression. – Serenity Gibbons, NAACP

5. Dress to Impress

You can’t go wrong with someone who’s well-dressed, manicured, and put together. It’s difficult to convince people what you’re saying is true when you don’t make yourself presentable. Always put effort into looking and smelling tidy and clean so that people are more inclined to take you seriously. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Do Your Research

It helps to do research on who might be at an event ahead of time so when you meet those people you can make reference to this information. This makes a good impression because others see that you were interested enough to do some research prior to meeting. – Peter Daisyme, Hostt

7. Be Mindfully Polite

Not everyone is born with natural charisma, but you can make up for that by being polite and attentive. Always greet people and use their name. Remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Show interest by asking questions, and listen actively as they answer. Never cut someone off while they’re talking. Be mindfully polite, as this is core to making good first impressions and connections. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

8. Put Away Your Phone

One way to become more charismatic is by putting away your phone. Putting away your phone shows to the other person that your entire focus is on them and that conversation, which will make them feel appreciated and special. Plus, it’ll help you as well, by not tempting you to distract yourself during the conversation. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Use the Right Tone

You know the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? It’s true. How you deliver in your tone during a conversation is how the other person will translate what you’re saying. It’s easy to tell by someone’s tone how they’re feeling, so keep it lighthearted and pleasant if you want to make a good impression on others. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

10. Be Kind and Confident

An act of kindness can improve someone’s day, and improve their decision-making. That person will always associate you with the kind act and view you in a positive light. Infuse these gentle words with confidence to reassure people that you will support them when they need help or comfort. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

11. Be Engaged in What’s Going On

Don’t let anyone think that you are there for the ride or that you were forced to make an appearance. When you are meeting people for the first time, get to know them and ask thoughtful questions. Ask follow-up questions, so they know you were paying attention to what they said. In most cases, this triggers others to do the same, and then, you have an organic dialogue and a good first impression. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

12. Ask the Right Questions

When networking, a great way to get people to like you without having to put in a great deal of effort is to ask the right questions. These are questions that the person you’re talking to wants you to ask and are usually related to them or the topic they’re currently discussing. If you act like a conversational wingman, you can easily endear yourself to other people who just enjoy a conversation. – Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

13. Find Your Weird

Find your weird and put it out there, even if it’s not business related. Everybody has a quirk, and the best connections I’ve ever made are authentic. For me, my orange jacket is a great conversation starter. Everyone has some sort of metaphorical “orange jacket” that can open up real conversations. Or, be vulnerable, share something, and skip the small talk with a bold question or statement. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

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