When meeting someone for the first time, you want them to see your best self, and why not? A first impression is everything. For some people, this can be difficult. Social anxiety takes over (and trust, my social anxiety is a real thing) leaving you too nervous to show your beautiful self. So how do you conquer this fear? Maybe some tips from actors on how to be charming will help.
Being more present, listening, and smiling are all things that can help bring out your charming self. Actors do it every day, and if there is one thing we know about actors it's that they know how to ham up a room. Their stage presence and confidence can light up any space, and that's most likely because of all the auditions they've been on. Auditioning is such a big part of being an actor. In just a few minutes they need to win over a casting director or agent with not only their talent, but personality too. Wow, that sounds nerve-wracking. My anxiety is already kicking in. Hopefully for you, the stakes aren't so high.
Whether you're trying to make a good impression on someone you met on the street, your coworkers, in-laws, or boss, take some advice from these working actors. Their tips will help you bring out the confidence and the charm.
1Say "Please" And "Thank You"
"It's charming to see someone as an individual, someone unique. Also, always say "please [and] thank you." Genuine manners are very charming." - Devin Olson, model and actor
Don't forget to be polite. How many times do you remember how rude someone was? My guess is a lot.
2Make Them Laugh
"If you can have a real, truthful connection — even for a minute — it’s much more powerful than chatting someone up for an hour. If you can find humor in the situation — or make the person laugh — they’ll remember that and want to see you again. I guess it’s just like dating. But don’t hit on them. That’s not good."- Abby Feldman, actress on Netflix's Gringolandia
Why so serious? In the end nothing matters, so why not crack a joke? Try to lighten up the mood. If it doesn't land, who cares. There are worse things that could happen.
"Be as prepared as possible and then try to enjoy the audition with the knowing that it’s the fun part." — Keele Howard-Stone, actor and comedian
Keele may be specifically referring to how to come off as charming at an actual audition, but this tip can be applied to all scenarios. If someone's not having fun, it's usually pretty obvious, and if you're not having fun, then what's the point?
"Be confident, but not too confident. Smile more and ask questions about the other person so you seem interested in them rather than yourself."- Rebecca Aparicio, actor on Pedro Pan
In acting, you learn to listen and respond. Not only is this an essential stage skill but a very valuable life skill. So don't forget that the moment is not all about you.
5Know You Are Enough
"Trust that you are enough."- Kyle Baird, actor in The Color Purple national tour
Our insecurities all come from us not thinking we are good enough; that there is someone prettier, better, and smarter than you. Well knock that out of your head. Once you know you are enough, then everyone else will too. Remember there is no one like you.
6Recognize Personal Space
"My biggest tip is: Space is sexy. You need room for energy to move and send between two or more people. The more you’re aware and take ownership of the space you take up, the more autonomy you give the other person to do the same. If you get too close to someone, not only can it be seen as an invasion, but you also don’t allow for the other person to fully take in your body language. Larger physical gestures when in conversation show ease and confidence in your body. They also need more space to execute. Allowing someone to fully see and hear you in their presence can make you feel exposed, but it’s this type of offering that allows the other person to be just as open. This is where being a good listener comes in handy. Allowing people to be spacious and autonomous in your presence is very charming. It’s achieved through the energetic give and take of empty space between bodies."-Conner Bond, actor on Elementary
In any conversation, use the space around you. Keep your chest open; it will allow you to receive. Keep your legs hips length apart; it will help ground you. Maybe you want to talk with your hands. If so, do it. It makes you more animated. Don't be scared to be comfortable in your body and the space that you're in.
"I think being present and being a human being goes a long way ... I had a [casting director] that I have a good relationship with ask me a while back at an industry mixer ‘how are you, Marc?’ I immediately started talking about auditions, and she stopped me and said ‘no, how are YOU doing.’ It kinda clicked right there. Be a person first, then an actor. People pretend to be what they think fits in this industry when just being yourself is what they want. So for me being more charming is just being myself, and listening and responding like a human being. Did I articulate that correctly for you?" - Marc Corns, actor on the Mama Mia tour
When someone asks you how you're doing, talk about yourself, not what people know you for (your kids, your job, your relationships). That's the tip here. People will appreciate that you yourself are present.
8Pretend You're On A Date
"Anytime you audition, pretend you’re on a first date with the person of your dreams and charm the piss out of them."- Sue Smith, comedian on VHI Best WeekEver
My favorite tip: In a perfect world, what would you do if your soulmate was sitting across from you? Maybe you would sweet talk them, giggle, smile. Whatever it is, put your nerves aside and pretend like you're as confident as you are in your imagination.
9Show Yourself Off
"I think taking a genuine interest in the people in the room is very important ... Showing off your personality separates you." Meghan Pool, actor
Show off your unique personality traits and don't forget that there are other people in the room who are probably just as interesting as you.
"Wear glasses." — Ashley Bez, actor, and writer for Younger
Hmm, this must've worked for her, so why not give it a shot?
"Everyone's personality is different, so I think it’s important first to be yourself and not force the “charm,” but rather find a way that feels natural to you. Most people don’t realize it, but when they feel comfortable with a person, they become naturally charming. Some baseline things to do in a conversation to come off as charming are to give them eye contact, but not too much because that’s creepy, [listen] to what the person says and [respond] to specific details, ask them about their lives. People remember what they share with you more than what you have shared with them. And give a genuine smile" - Camille Theobald, actor on The Masterclass with Kevin Spacey, and host of The NYC Indie Film Fest
So get comfy and the charm will just ooze out of you? Noted.