The art and value of charm

With looming holidays, a few glasses of bubbly or ale and parties, everyone becomes more relaxed often transforming into charming Xmas elves. The art and value of charm is certainly ubiquitous at the silly season time of year. 

The season of good will (which is just so  needed after the last 2 years of lockdowns) brings out much banter, friendliness and charm. But charm is often seemingly rather seasonal – kept for birthdays, business celebrations, milestones, Xmas, Valentine’s Day and other Hallmark moments. Or it can be situational to rectify and amend previous behaviours or actions. But I say baloney to that…. bring it on all year!

Charm is such a valuable life and professional skill that has a huge positive impact on how others feel about themselves and you.   And how others feel about you is rooted in how people feel about themselves after spending time with you.

Do they feel energised and valued or weakened and devalued?  Being memorable and personal branding has a lot to do with charm and is not just for the season of mince pies, Santa and carols.

The neuroscience of feel good moments

We we all want to want more joy and feel good moments in our professional and personal lives.

But the happy hormones (serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins) can be in short supply in our daily work as we grind the wheels of survival, success, failure, change, and competition and business relationships.

The neuroscience and benefits of happy chemicals are well documented. And whilst I’m no scientist, I’m confident that bringing back the art of genuine charm will have a significant impact on professional lives, creativity, mental and physical wellbeing.

Difference between being charming and charismatic 

Being charismatic and charming is not always mutually exclusive. Charismatic people and leaders are mostly extremely confident, influential and engage broadly with big impact. Whereas being charming is more a ‘person to person’ focus with the essence of a desire to give.

And in that context, the powerful charismatic stage persona, may not always give a flying red rose in the hallway talking to the caretaker. Genuinely charming people don’t delineate who is worthy of their attention. They treat all with the same level of interest, irrelevant of status or usefulness to them.

What charm is – and isn’t 

Now before any one spurts out the bubbly or throws a virtual turkey carving knife  with incredulity, let me define what I mean by charm & charming behaviour.

I’m so NOT talking about surreptitious seductive manoeuvres, sleazy innuendos or manipulative behaviours. 

Nor am I referring to disingenuous words, sycophantic actions, effusive compliments or snake oil sales flattery.



Charming behaviour is not gender specific either and banter of itself is a playful communication skill sorely missing.  Banter can dissipate awkward energy and the hustle and bustle of business. I fear that we have gone too woke, PC and permanently outraged on top of a fear of being misconstrued.

But like anything, there are lines that can get crossed. It’s the motivation and intent behind what is said and how it’s said that is key. 

Dale Carnegie wisdom

Dale Carnegie was the original champion of the ethos of leadership, relationships and influence from his How to Win Friends and Influence People classic.  

First printed in 1936, the classic was reprinted in 2011. The tenets are equally, if not more important in today’s hyper digital age as it was back in the days of manual typewriters, dial back phones and Bing Crosby’s ‘Silent Night’.

The following famous quote really does sum up much of the elements of charm:

Being charming starts with sincere and respectful intentions to build honest business and human relationships. Be it from the side of client, supplier, staff or networks. And how we interact with the janitor is just as important as the chairman. Just watch how the chest puffs and a smile erupts when you’re charming towards someone that least expects it.

Elements of charm   

  1. Good manners – on and off line   Manners never go out of style
  2. Smiling and eye contact – with enthusiasm
  3. Being fully present – not on mobiles, distracted/glancing around
  4. Initiating curious conversations and really listen
  5. Show genuine interest in others
  6. Give genuine compliments – written or verbal – its a gift of gold
  7. Having fun and being a little light hearted
  8. Research people to demonstrate care and interest before business meetings
  9. Banter and playfulness

Charm like any behaviour is a both a art and  muscle that needs regular practice. 

The benefit of genuine charming behaviour is that everyone wins – giver, receiver and all they interact with all. So more charm in 2022 I say.


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