6 Secrets of Irresistible People

by Pacelle van Goethem, 20 February 2019

Some people have it all. They seem like magnets to others. They are powerful, kind and cool at the same time. They seem able to win everyone over effortlessly. How they do it? 

They are positive

Irresistible people look to the future. Sharing goals and having a positive attitude also project authority. Just think of Christine Lagarde with her forever clear message and ‘can do’ attitude: ‘I learned that you can constantly improve, and that you should not be shy about your views, and about the direction that you believe is right.’ Think of Malala Yousafzai who was not defeated by her tragedy. Even more determined, she has become a global fighter and spokeswoman for education.

Yes we can just sounds better than We are in trouble

Being positive and focussing on solutions has an irresistible effect. ‘Yes we can’ just sounds better than ‘We are in trouble.’ Never did any president live up to the promises he or she made during the election campaign. Nevertheless time and time again the one with the most powerful goal or vision gets our vote. In the words of Michelle Obama: ‘People want to feel hopeful.’ So offering hope is attractive.

They are passionate and take risks

Having a zest for life, being enthousiastic and doing what you love is irresistible to others. As one of the most passionate and successful people in the world, Roger Federer once stated: ‘When you’re good at something, make that everything.’ Elon Musk: ‘When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.’ And the much acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid said: ‘I will never think I’ve made it.’ 

The biggest risk is not taking any

Passionate people are more willing to take risks and will therefore be more creative and have more success. They seem to make whatever they do count and take on problems as an adventure. In Mark Zuckerberg’s opinion ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk.’ Successful people do what they love, and love what they do. Others will want to join in. Howard Schultz considers passion to be key in achieving the incredible global success of Starbucks: ‘When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.

They keep cool

Irresistible people are easy-going, happy, tolerant and composed. Being mild and relaxed is attractive. They are enthousiastic and passionate, yet free and flexible. Committed to results, yet not hung up on them. Relaxed people radiate more authority in both body language and voice and are seen as natural leaders. A simple trick of the mind might help you to be less hard on yourself: Observe yourself through the eyes of your best friends. They would tell you that your are great, to enjoy yourself and to take it easy. 

Once you find that peace, you start playing your best

Angela Merkel once commented: ‘I have a sunny spirit, no matter what happens. I have never allowed myself to be bitter.’ A wonderful role-model in learning to keep it cool is Roger Federer. We all know him for his incredible success. Less well known is that he had quite a rocky mental start in tennis. In his early years his frustration sometimes got the better of him. He was able to completely turn that around. Federer said: ‘Once you find that peace, that place of peace and quiet, harmony and confidence, that’s when you start playing your best.’

They are smart and dare to change their mind

Irresistible people are understanding and willing to listen. Because, as Angela Merkel pragmatically proclaimed: ‘Controversial disputes are a part of a democratic culture.’

Progress is impossible without change

Rather than having a strong opinion, they have the full picture. Not having fixed ideas defining them helps them to be free, strong leaders and perfect negotiators. As Winston Churchill once said: ‘A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind’ just like George Bernard Shaw stated: ‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’

Trying to understand matters and trying to get an overall picture makes you powerful. More so, trying to fully understand the opinions, standpoints, concerns and objections of others will give you the perfect insight in the possible arguments that might make them willing to negotiate or even agree. Knowledge, intelligence and the realisation that no idea is perfect will increase your persuasive and attractive power. It may take training, as Michelle Obama puts it: ‘Not being afraid to be wrong.’ In the words of Barack Obama: ‘My faith is one that admits some doubt.’

They have a sense of perspective

Seeing the bigger picture helps irresistible people to be more mild and have a sense of perspective. They are personally involved but don’t take things personally. They acknowledge sentiments and feelings but distinguish them from facts. To see politics, meetings and debates as a game rather than as a personal fight is a powerful tool. They do not take themselves too seriously (Jeremy Clarkson: ‘I’m not capable of having an affair. You can ask my wife. I’m not physically capable’) and also see matters, responses en political processes in perspective.

Get personally involved, but don’t take things personally

As Margaret Thatcher once said: ‘I enjoy a debate when it gets personal, it simply means they have run out of arguments.’ The quickest tip to put things in perspective is to zoom out. Once I heard in a seminar on happiness: Do you want an answer to all your problems? Simply invent a bigger one.

They are kind, interested and grateful

Yet truly characteristic of irresistible people, more than any of the other secrets mentioned, is their focus on other people. They are kind to everyone and put others first. They are interested, put others center stage and make them feel important and good about themselves. The stuff of so called ‘Level-5 leaders’. They give compliments and pay attention. Just think of Nelson Mandela, Anwar Sadat, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana and Ed Sheeran. Sheryl Sandberg claims she did not succeed on their own: ‘I feel really grateful to the people who encouraged me and helped me develop’ . Bill Clinton famously said: ‘The person I’m talking to, to me is the most important person in the world.’  Focussing on others rather than focussing on being likable, aka themselves, is what makes them genuinely warm and sympathetic.

In 2018 Cody Keenan, Barack Obama’s Speechwriter, said it powerfully in one of his own speeches: ‘Work hard, learn from the team around you, make your very presence bring out the best in them. That makes you a magnet.’ It sums it up. Word!

Bring out the best in others. That makes you a magnet 

The faces of Persuasion
Faces of Persuasion: Kajsa Ollongren, Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel, Roger Federer, Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher, Ban Ki-moon, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Sheeran, Christine Lagarde, Marjan van Loon, Charles Michel, Sheryl Sandberg, Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Cody Keenan, Justin Trudeau. Photos: ABTY
Roger Federer. Photo: EPA
Michelle Obama. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP
Ed Sheeran. Photo: REX FEATURES
Angela Merkel. Photo: CDU
Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Radiotimes, Tuesday, 8th January 2019 at 8:00 am
Minister Kajsa Ollongren. Photo: ANP
Nelson Mandela. Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com

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