Manners we can steal from charismatic people

My mom’s visiting from Sweden. Yesterday, I surprised her with a trip to a gospel church as I know it’s quite an experience.

charismatic peopleThe choir at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

For me, the fascinating part was how the pastor presented his stories.

The audience was spell-bound by what he said – or, to be frank, HOW he said it.

You see, if we’d write down what he said word for word, we’d see how WHAT he said was pretty basic and repetitive. It looked something like this:

“You will overcome.
We will all overcome.
You will overcome.”

However, the WAY he said it made the audience go ecstatic.

His manners remind us, once again, how delivery often is more important than the content of the message.

One recurring question I get is “What am I supposed to say when I initiate a conversation with a stranger” or “What am I supposed to say in this specific situation”.

My more advanced readers, on the other hand, wonder how they should say it.

What we say speaks to people’s intellect. How we say it speaks to people’s emotions.

This is what we can learn from how the pastor spoke:

  • Confident people speak SLOWER than those who are nervous.
  • Charismatic people maintain eye contact longer than less charismatic people.
  • We tend to believe those who sound assertive when they say something. If we want someone to believe something, we want to say it like we truly believe it.
  • Charismatic people use variation in tempo and volume.
  • Confident and charismatic people use PAUSES when they tell stories.

The use of pauses is especially fascinating, so I would like to expand on that.

Confident people can speak with high intensity at times, but they balance this intensity up with pauses to let the listener process what’s being said and build up anticipation for what’s next to come. If we speak with excitement without these pauses, we come off as the kid who just came back from Disney World and wants to tell us all about it. On the other hand, if we add pauses, that’s when we immerse the listener.

We don’t want to walk around in life and talk like a preacher. That would just be weird. But using the same principles makes us more interesting when we speak.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

– David

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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