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CHAPTER 1

What Is Charm?

When John F. Kennedy flashed his smile, he could charm a bird off a tree.

  -- SEYMOUR ST. JOHN

Listen to the description of charm by someone who did not expect it and may have been resistant to its effect before succumbing:

... [H]e projected a totally 'in the moment' focus on each person he met... [H]e exuded warmth; he seemed a man genuinely interested in liking you, and not concerned with whether or not you liked him. How much of that was genetic and how much developed I can only speculate. All I know is that I was, in that brief moment of meeting, totally charmed by a person I neither agreed with nor even expected to like.

These remarks are by professional speaker Mark Sanborn, commenting on meeting President Bill Clinton.

When we refer to charm, we're not talking about table manners, good looks, or being a snappy dresser; we're talking about something much more profound. True charm is something that goes beyond mere appearance. It's that ability some people have to create extraordinary rapport that makes others in their presence feel exceptional. Charm has an engaging quality to which we respond powerfully and emotionally, almost instinctively.

Nature or Nurture?

You might be saying to yourself, "But you have to be born with charm, and if you're not, you're out of luck!" We used to believe that too, but in all the many years that we have researched, experimented with, and taught the art and craft of person-to-person communication, we have found much evidence to the contrary.

There's no question that some people are naturally charming, which gives them an advantage. But charm is not some mystical ingredient that is found in our genes. Charm is the result of using specific skills that most of us know little or nothing about. This means charm can be learned.

In the pages ahead, you will learn how to become a completely charismatic person, exerting a magnetic attraction and influence on the people you meet.

Your Tools for Charming Others

From now on, think about charm as a personality quality and skill you can develop by doing the things that charming people do and being the kind of person that charming people are.

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