The key habits of charismatic people

Personal branding through social media may help you build your professional network, but there will never be a replacement for a charismatic personality.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich — one of the top-selling books of all time — wrote about the habits of the most likeable people in his essay Develop A Pleasing Personality, published in the forthcoming collection The Science of Success.

He introduced his steps to having a “million-dollar personality” by explaining it was steel magnate Charles M. Schwab's charming demeanour that in the late 19th century elevated him from day laborer to an executive with an $80,000 salary and a frequent million-dollar bonus. These were astronomical numbers for the time.

Hill writes that Schwab's boss, legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie, said: "The yearly salary was for the work Schwab performed, but the bonus was for what Schwab, with his pleasing personality, could get others to do."

Here are Hill's 14 habits of people who are so likeable that others go out of their way to help them:

1. Develop a positive mental attitude and let it be seen and felt by others

It's often easier to give into cynicism, but those who choose to be positive set themselves up for success and have better reputations.

2. Always speak in a carefully disciplined, friendly tone


The best communicators speak deliberately and confidently, which gives their voice a pleasing sound.

3. Pay close attention to someone speaking to you

Using a conversation as an opportunity to lecture someone “may feed the ego, but it never attracts people or makes friends,” Hill says.

4. Maintain your composure in all circumstances

An overreaction to something either positive or negative can give people a poor impression. In the latter case, says Hill, “remember that silence may be much more effective than your angry words”.

5. Be patient

“Remember that proper timing of your words and acts may give you a big advantage over impatient people,” Hill writes.

6. Keep an open mind

Those who close themselves off from certain ideas and associate only with like-minded people are missing out on not only personal growth but opportunities for advancing their careers.

7. Smile when speaking with others

Hill says that US President Franklin D. Roosevelt's greatest asset was his “million-dollar smile”, which encouraged people to lower their guards during conversation.

8. Understand that not all your thoughts need to be expressed

The most likeable people know that it's not worth offending people by expressing all of their thoughts, even if they happen to be true.

9. Don't procrastinate

Procrastination communicates to people that you're afraid of taking action, Hill says, and are therefore ineffective.

10. Engage in at least one good deed a day

The best networkers help other people out without expecting anything in return.

11. Find a lesson in failure rather than brood over it

People admire those who grow from failure rather than wallow in it. “Express your gratitude for having gained a measure of wisdom, which would not have come without defeat,” Hill says.

12. Act as if the person you are speaking to is the most important person in the world

The most likeable people use conversations as a chance to learn about another person and give them a chance to talk.

13. Praise others in a genuine way without being excessive

“Praise the good traits of others, but don't rub it on where it is not deserved or spread it too thickly,” Hill says.

14. Have someone you trust point out your flaws

Successful people don't pretend to be likeable; they are because they care about their conduct and reputation. Having a confidante who can be completely honest with you allows you to continue growing.