Friday, June 22, 2007

What People Want In Life Is To Be 'Gotten'

A while back in an online dialogue with colleagues we were talking about charm, being charming and can one learn how to be charming. Is it possible? Can we learn true charm or is it a fundamental characteristic we're either 'born with' or not? And if one does learn charm, is it then authentic or forced and fake?

I'm thinking of the statement..."It's the result of using specific skills that most of us know little or nothing about. That means charm can be learned."...

Sure charm can be learned just like one can learn a skill, however learning a skill is different than being gifted with a talent. There's a difference, whether in playing a musical instrument, doing what comes naturally and becoming masterful at it, or learning a basic skill. One can always tell the difference. Having the talent, or being charming is an extention of who we are and flows from us almost naturally. Learning a skill is more mechanical and even though we can become proficient in it, it doesn't flow quite the same.

I look at charm as being something genuine, a way of being, an ease with people... and to think of it as being a learned behaviour would be more like the difference between a learned skill and a true talent. But I won't go there right now.

If charm is, as some remarked, used or thought of in a positive sense as a way of approaching and embracing people based on a giving, warm, accepting personality, then wouldn't learned charm have that stilted aspect to it that would make us question its authenticity?

<---wondering out loud. (I'd love your three cents on this)

Bottom line is people want others to ‘get them’, and understand where they’re coming from. People want to be comfortable, and charming people puts them at ease….but edgy people keep them on their toes, stretch them beyond what they’re comfortable with and help them fly. Some leaders might be charming but those who create a huge following are the ones with an edge which, in many ways, counteracts the charming persona or minimizes the importance of it.

Interest in the charmer usually wanes but the fascination with an edgy leader remains constant or increases as you wonder what (s)he’ll do next and what your role will be in the scheme of things. (S)he might keep you off balance, but interested. I think in many ways a charmer keeps you at status quo.....might make you feel really good, important perhaps at that moment in time but generally moves on to charm the next person. Will the charmer help you grow? I wonder.

What do you think?

Donna Karlin

Book Recommendation: A great book that speaks about this topic is The Power of Charm: How to Win Anyone Over in Any Situation by Brian Tracy and Ron Arden.

They state: "There's no question that some people are naturally charming, which gives them an advantage. But charm isn't some mystical ingredient that's found in our genes. It's the result of using specific skills that most of us know little or nothing about. That means charm can be learned. "
Would you agree?

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