According to Bain & Co.'s 2011 report on the global luxury goods market we are spending in excess of $250bn a year on branded luxury goods and cosmetics -- all in an effort to raise our "attractiveness index." Universally, people of all cultures recognize how important it is to be attractive in every relationship, personal, business and professional. We cannot sell if we and our brands are not attractive to our customers, we cannot persuade others effectively if we and our ideas are not attractive to them. The people we lead should be attracted to our values, behaviors and the way we communicate . Charisma, long recognized as a tool for amplifying leadership effectiveness, is a form of attractiveness, but charisma and glamor are not the only, or even the best ways to exude attractiveness.
Clearly it is important to project attractiveness even at the superficial level at which we interface with the world: the way we dress, groom ourselves, care for our skin and appearance, and the way we speak and write. But attractiveness is boosted exponentially when it also radiates from deep within a person's most authentic being, from their soul. One doesn't need to be charismatic to be attractive, but one does need to have traits of human greatness that effortlessly and authentically rise to the surface and radiate outwards. These traits include characteristics of humility, the ability and willingness to expose ones own vulnerability, generosity and most importantly, authenticity; all functions of a sound sense of inner security.
In his article on attractiveness, Josh Linkner identifies these same traits and offers six keys to attractiveness:
- Lead with Passion: When you are passionate about your ideas and connected to the purpose behind your mission, your attractiveness goes through the roof. In the words of military theorist Ferdinand Foch, "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." Amen.
- Don't Fake It: Nowadays, we all have highly developed "bullshit detectors." Keep it real. Authenticity trumps fancy-talk any day. Trust must be earned and can be shattered in an instant. Stop being apologetic for who you are not, and celebrate who you are.
- Be Interested Instead of Interesting: Dale Carnegie had it right--you attract others when you are genuinely interested in them. Listen more, talk less. Ask questions and seek to understand. You'll be amazed how everyone suddenly wants to be your friend.
- Don't Waiver: If you are second-guessing yourself or your ideas, so will others. Confidence is the most attractive attribute in any act of persuasion, personal or business. Stand firm to your beliefs, and in turn, others will gravitate to you.
- Be Remarkable: The world doesn't need another me-too anything. Whether you're selling your product, yourself, or your vision, make sure they are unique and compelling. Dream your own dreams, not a slight variation of someone else's.
- Make a Difference: If your idea is a scheme to make piles of cash at the expense of the world, you'll have an easier time pushing boulders up a mountain. If you are solving a real human problem and truly working to make the world a better place, it will show and you will shine.
Not all attractive people are great people, but all great people are attractive, for attractiveness is a stamp of greatness.