When you think of people who have charisma, whom do you think of? Billy Graham? John F. Kennedy? Author and psychologist, Suzette Haden-Elgin says that charisma is the “mysterious, irresistible, almost magical ability to make others believe you and want to do anything you ask of them.” Charisma makes people want to trust us. It is a valuable tool, not only in speaking, selling and advertising, but also as a useful addition to your people skills. What if you had the power to lead and persuade people?
People tend to use one of the five sensory modes. Learn which sensory mode the person you are speaking with is in and speak in the same mode. For example, a person speaking in the sight sensory mode will say things like, “I see what you mean,” or, “That looks good to me.” If he is in a hearing mode, he might say things like, “I hear what you’re trying to say,” or, “That sounds fine to me.” If he is in a touch mode, he might say something like, “That doesn’t feel right to me,” or, “I can’t put my finger on the problem.” A person in the smell mode says things like, “I smell a rat,” or, “Something is fishy.” A person in the taste mode says things like, “It leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” or, “I want it so bad, I can taste it.”
Respond in the same mode. If someone says, “This doesn’t look right to me,” comment with, “I see what you mean,” not, “I hear what you’re saying.” Or if someone says, “How does this look?” reply with, “It shows judgment on your part,” not, “It touches my discerning qualities.”
Done properly, mode matching allows the other person to feel accepted, listened to and understood. It creates a connecting energy between you and others.
The verbs people use also help you determine sensory modes and communicate in them without being repetitious. Listen to the verbs people use and match them to the sensory modes. People who use verbs like see, look, and show prefer the sight sensory mode. Hear, listen, and sounds like indicate a person’s preference for the hearing sensory mode, while touch, feel, and grip show an inclination for the touch mode. Taste, gobble, and makes me sick indicate the taste mode. Listen for these verbs and adjust your own to match the other person’s.
Charismatic speech is balanced speech. This balance creates a rhythm people respond to positively. When you listen to a charismatic person notice that his speech sounds effortless. We catch on to the speech pattern and know what to expect. There are no surprises. This manner of speaking is known linguistically as parallelism. The easiest way to work toward a balanced speech is to be sure that whenever there is more than one of anything, the same language form is used.
There is affirmative parallelism and negative parallelism as in I will stay, and I will work,“ and I will neither stay nor work.” There is an order in parallelism and a lack of distraction that allows the listener to relax and allow the rhythm of the communication to bring home the words. A relaxed listener is a more approachable. Tone is equally important. Remember, how you say something affects what others hear. Listen to yourself with an ear toward heating yourself as others hear you.
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