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    When you walk into a room does the conversation continue as if nothing significant has happened? Does the waiter skip you when passing around drinks? And when making introductions, does the hostess always go blank when she come to your face? If you answered “Yes,” to one or all of these questions, you’ve definitely got a problem. It’s high time to up your charisma.

    Charisma is that special quality that commands attention as you enter a room, that magnetism that screams out, “Here I am—-captivating, electrifying, scintillating—ME!” Some people, of course, are born with it. Some people are definitely hopeless. The great un-charismatic mass in the middle can be taught.

    There are four elements of charisma: attitude, speech, body language and friends. The Charisma Makeover is quite complicated, but the first rule is to think positively. Dejected thoughts produce poor posture. You cannot project animal magnetism while slouching. Eye contact is also important. There is nothing more disconcerting at a soiree than talking with someone whose eyes keep glancing over your shoulder. The solution is to only talk to short people. Back a short person into the wall, stand close and keep nodding. You are assured of undivided attention.

    Subtle allure is an effective charismatic style involving the adroit use of body language. Alluring persons never scratch, sneeze or mention bunions. To draw people to you magnetically, the best way is to sit down, sigh, and put your head between your knees. If no one notices this tactic, sit back and slowly begin to undress. If no one is still drawn to you, you might want to look around for a short person.

    There are two philosophies of Friend Selection among charisma educators today. The first school subscribes to the notion of surrounding yourself with other shining stars, known as Gilt by Association. Or, try  the Agnes Gooch Theory: Pick a mousy friend and you’ll fairly glow by comparison. Of course there is a drawback here: Your audience must be able to tell which one of you is Agnes.

    Here are a few more Do’s and Don’ts:

    Do dress for success. If you can’t dress for success, at least dress for trying.
    Do lean forward when talking to people, but beware that nothing personal falls out.
    Do spend five minutes each day in front of a mirror practicing your sincere smile. Then for three minutes a day work on the Empathetic Nod, the Knowing Glance and the versatile Wink-And-Grin.
    Don’t start a conversation with: “How long have you worn dentures?”
    Don’t talk about these three taboo subjects: odor-eaters, leg waxing, or bald spots.

    Finally, if all else fails, become filthy rich. Then you won’t have to learn charisma, you can just buy it.

    Esther Blumenfeld (Based on an article in ATLANTA WOMAN MAGAZINE, Feb. 1984, Blumenfeld and Alpern) c. Blumenfeld

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