How To Become More Charismatic and Make More Money as a Programmer: 3 Actionable Steps

Written By Mani Vaya

I got laid off three different times in my computer engineering career—and not once was it because of my coding or technical skills.

Every single time, I was laid off because of my inability to build powerful and meaningful relationships with people who mattered. I was a punk coder who believed that the only important thing was how well I coded.

As programmers, we have been taught to believe that as long as we are really good at programming, our career will take care of itself.

However, if that is indeed the case, why is it that you have managers, directors, and vice presidents in your company who are not even half as talented, smart, or intelligent as you are, but they are telling you what to do?

Well, the answer is staring in your face: They were not promoted because they were better programmers but because they were better at making friends, attracting people, influencing them, and inspiring them to take action.

In short, they had better people skills. They were better able to handle conflict and difficult conversations, and they were more likable than others.

If we want to succeed in our careers as programmers—whether as entrepreneurs, consultants, or career programmers—we need to develop very powerful social skills. And one of the most powerful social skills you can ever develop in your life is to become charismatic.

Charismatic people make friends quickly and influence others to their way of thinking. Charismatic people inspire others. Charismatic people are more likable.

Unfortunately, there is a myth out there that charismatic people are born with their charisma. However, Olivia Fox Cabane debunked this myth in her book The Charisma Myth. She found that nobody is born with charisma. Instead, it is developed over time, with practice.

Even Bill Clinton—who is widely reputed to be a very charismatic man—was not very charismatic when he started off in his career. He was almost clapped off the stage of the Democratic National Convention. I will tell you about his story below.

The truth is, charisma is just like any other skill in life. It can be developed using very specific methods.

Let me quickly tell you a little bit about myself. I used to be a computer engineer at Fortune 500 tech giants. However, I left that career to start a book-summary business called “2000 Books,” where we compress the best ideas from the world’s greatest business and personal development books into 15-minute videos.

I recently read over 30 of the greatest books on developing people and social skills, and in my reading, I found three concepts that, albeit counterintuitive and very paradoxical, are key to becoming more charismatic in life.

To make it really easy to remember, I call this the L.I.V. method for becoming more charismatic.

Less Talking, More Listening

We mistakenly believe that in order to be charismatic, we must talk a lot and impress people with our skills, smarts, intelligence, etc.

However, the truth is that charisma is all about getting other people to talk. Then, crucially, you should listen to them intently, as if they were the center of your world in that moment. Charisma is about listening and understanding others.

To be very clear, it’s not just about listening for the sake of listening. You have to actively talk less and seek out information from others. You have to become curious about them.

Think of interesting questions you can ask others so that you can understand their story. That way, you will learn more about them.

You can ask open-ended questions such as:

  • What do you enjoy doing outside of your work?
  • If you could change anything about this job/business, what would it be?
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you rather be doing today?

When you ask open-ended questions like these, the other person has to talk about themselves.

When you get people to talk about themselves, they feel good about themselves,and they begin to like you as a result.

Here is a simple way to think about charisma: People think you are charismatic when they feel good in your presence.

Importance—Make Others Feel Important

One of the common myths of charisma is that in order to be charismatic, we must make ourselves look or sound important in the eyes of others.

However, in order to be charismatic, we have to do the exact opposite.

Charisma is not about impressing others, but about being impressed by them. We have to make the other person feel important instead of trying to make ourselves feel important.

In the book How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie talks about the idea that you have to make the other person feel as if they are the most important person in the room. He says that you have to be sincere about it. Don’t try to flatter them. You should make them feel important and do it genuinely.

William James, the great philosopher, said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

We have to realize that importance isn’t just a wish that people have. It is the deepest craving that we all have. We all want to feel appreciated. Therefore, we have to make others feel important. And we have to do it genuinely.

Let me give you a quick example of how to genuinely make others feel important:

You just heard your colleague talk about how he/she is tired because they were up till late last night tending to a customer issue.

In this case, all you need to do is appreciate them for what they have just done. So you can say something as simple as: “Wow … you are sacrificing your personal time for this business. You are very dedicated.”

In that moment, you genuinely made your colleague feel important and special. Once you start looking for opportunities to make others feel important, you will find them all around you. This is what charismatic people do, and if you want to become more charismatic, you must do it as well.

Charisma is not about being loud or being the center of attention. It’s not at all about you—it’s about them. It is all about highlighting what’s best in others, and that makes them feel important.


We somehow believe that in order to be charismatic, we must come across as perfect. However, the truth is that very few of us like people who appear perfect.

When we try to act as if we have no faults or weaknesses, we come across as fake and inauthentic to others.

Think of all the people in your life you truly like, adore, or love. Is it their perfections that make them lovable, or is it their imperfections and vulnerabilities that make them so much more genuine, adorable, likable, and lovable?

You will always find that the people you love are the people who have vulnerabilities and who share those vulnerabilities with you.

If you want people to really like you and love you, you have to be vulnerable in their presence.

Sharing your vulnerabilities with others allows them to do the same, and that exchange is the essence of deep connections.

Vulnerability is one of the most powerful pillars of charisma.

As I mentioned earlier, Bill Clinton is considered by many as very charismatic. But the story behind his rise to power and how he became charismatic to millions of Americans is very interesting.

In the book Click, Ori Brafman talks about how Bill Clinton rose to power. In June 1992, Clinton came in third in the polls for the presidential election. He was almost irrelevant. His favorability numbers were in the 33% range.

Clinton then embarked on a talk show spree where he started talking about his past. He opened up on all his vulnerabilities and all the challenges he had to go through in life, including:

  • his alcoholic stepfather.
  • growing up with a single parent.
  • his difficult childhood.
  • his brother who had drug addictions.

As a result of that campaign, by the end of June, his favorability rating was up to 77%. He topped the presidential polls.

People started associating with him. They were now able to embrace him as a complete human being.

Embracing his own imperfections allowed people to like him a lot more, to want to be with him, and to relate to him, which is something we also need to do if we want to become more charismatic in our lives.

You are probably wondering how you can become more vulnerable in the office environment in the presence of colleagues, managers, etc. Well, here are some examples of conversations that will show your vulnerability:

  • Your difficult childhood,
  • Your struggles in finding a job,
  • Your challenges as an immigrant,
  • Your struggles getting that first promotion,
  • Your struggles in relating with people in office,

As you can imagine, there are a lot of ways in which you can become more vulnerable, more relatable, and more human in your career.

Charisma Is a Skill Everyone Can Learn

If you are serious about making a lot more money in your career, you have to learn to become more charismatic so that you can make friends, build powerful relationships, inspire and influence people, and accomplish your greatest goals as a result.

What I shared with you in this article are just three paradoxical strategies to become more charismatic in business and life.

The interesting thing about these strategies is that they are very counterintuitive. They are almost the exact opposite of what most people do in order to get ahead in their career.

The good thing is that inside my 2x Social Skills Program I have a stash of 200+ such powerful hacks, tips, tools, ideas, and counterintuitive strategies on:

  • Becoming more charismatic.
  • Making friends in any environment.
  • Overcoming social anxiety and shyness.
  • Developing communication skills.
  • Handling difficult conversations in any scenario.
  • Resolving conflicts when the stakes are high.
  • Building people skills.
  • Becoming more likable.
  • and a lot of other great people and social skills.

These are all strategies you will need to study in order to grow in your career and make more money.

You are probably wondering: What is the 2x Social Skills Program, and where did these 200+ strategies come from?

As I told you earlier, at 2000 Books I study the world’s greatest business and personal-development books and compress the best knowledge from those books into 15-minute videos.  

To help people with their social and people skills, I created a course called “2x Social Skills.”

I studied the world’s 30+ greatest books on social skills. Then I took the 5 to 10 most important ideas from each book and created 10- to 20-minute videos summarizing those key ideas. And then I put them all together in the 2x Social Skills Program.

As a result, the “2x Social Skills Program” has over seven hours of video summaries of the world’s greatest books on building social skills.

You get the five to 10 most important ideas from each book in a condensed 15-minute video that’s easy to absorb, easy to review, and easy to put into action immediately.

Now you are probably wondering: Well, I could read these books myself. Why do I need Mani’s “2x Social Skills” program? Yes, you can study all these books by yourself, take copious notes, identify big ideas, and keep them all organized in one place so that you can apply the ideas when needed.

If you read a book a month, reading these 30 books alone will take you 2.5 years. Let alone the time to take notes, identify big ideas, and keep them all organized for rapid recall. How much more effort would that take?

Frankly, can your career growth wait for two and a half years? With the 2x Social Skills Program, you can absorb the 200+ greatest social skills strategies from these great books in seven hours flat!

If you would like to get a BIG discount on the 2x Social Skills program, I highly recommend you use the Simple Programmer Coupon at checkout. We release 50 Coupons for the Simple Programmer Community every month.

However, once those 50 Coupons are used up for the month, the coupon code will stop working for the rest of the month until the quota is reset on the first of the following month.

If the coupon code does not work today, just wait till the first of next month to be able to use the coupon code “SIMPLE1.” Just click here for 2x Social Skills Book Summary Pack and use the coupon code “SIMPLE1” at checkout to see if you can grab the discount today.

By the way, The course comes with a 180-day 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to worry about.

If you are truly serious about growing in your career and making more money than your peers, you must invest in developing your social skills. With the 2x Social Skills Book Summary pack, you can absorb the greatest ideas from the world’s greatest minds on developing your people and social skills.