If You Want To Be More Charismatic, Stop Saying This Word
If you want to be more charismatic, one of your primary tasks is to make the people listening to you feel absolutely terrific.
Now ask yourself, to make the people around you feel great, "Should I talk more about myself or more about them?" Of course, if you want to make someone feel great, you'll get much farther talking about them than about yourself.
That's why one of the first steps to increasing your personal charisma is to drastically cut down on your use of the word "I" (or "me," "my" or even "we").
The Narcissism Ratio is a simple way to help you talk less about yourself. When you're writing a memo or giving a presentation, just count the number of times you use the words I, me or my, and then count the number of times you use words that refer to the people to whom you're speaking. That could be "you," or their name, or even words like "employees" and "customers."
If you talk about yourself more than you talk about them, you've violated the Narcissism Ratio. Here's an actual example.
In a study on charismatic leadership, actors were hired to portray considerate, structuring and charismatic leaders. People working for the charismatic leader had better performance on every measure. But why?
Let's look at part of the script the charismatic leader delivered to the employees in the study.
"So actually what you're doing today is going to have an impact on your own future. As you go through the exercise, I really want you to be as creative and imaginative as you can, because that's what we want. We want to know what you have to offer. Simply try to imagine the best possible way to get through the material and organize the work in ways that seem logical and effective to you. Just to you. Be intuitive. Don't be afraid to take risks. Trust your instincts. I have every confidence that if you draw on your creativity you'll do extremely well."
The content of the message aside, you'll notice that there are FOUR instances where the leader references themselves or the other leaders at the company (i.e., I or we). By contrast, there are TWELVE instances of some variation of "you" (i.e., you, your, you're, you'll).
The charismatic leader isn't talking much about themselves; instead, they're directing attention to the employees, and the employees' instincts, creativity, imagination, and more. There's literally 300% more "you" language than "I" language.
Being charismatic doesn't require a ratio that's quite this tilted, but it is important to spend more time talking about others than talking about ourselves. Once you start to listen for this language, you'll see how easily people slip into narcissistic (and non-charismatic) speech.
You should read your own memos or record yourself giving a presentation. Look for how often you talk about yourself compared to others, and if your ratio is out of balance, practice cutting the words I, me, my and we from your speech.