Ten simple ways to be more approachable
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
Making eye contact
I’m sure that you’ve come across someone who has the “it” factor. This person, ever the social butterfly, has the knack of being a true human magnet.
He has one or two people, or even a crowd, talking to him at once.
We’d do anything for a quarter of his approachability.
The good news is that while we may not be the most approachable people in the world, we can make others comfortable with us.
All of us can be a little more approachable. It takes putting a finger on what it is that gives people a little push back and understanding how we can seem a little more welcoming.
Why we may seem unapproachable
A few reasons, some which you may not be aware of, can cause you to appear as though you’re a tough wall. This may not be the impression you’re trying to convey.
A good first step to becoming more approachable is to look at the reasons why you may seem that way.
1. It’s your look.
Perhaps you give off the energy that tells others to avoid talking to you. You might unintentionally be telling people to stay away lest you bite.
The impression you’re trying to give might be the direct opposite.
2. You have confirmation.
Perhaps others have told you that you don’t look very approachable. You become defensive and even more closed to people.
The truth is, you may not be that bad at all.
3. You don’t make eye contact.
Another reason why you may seem unapproachable is that you don’t make eye contact with others. It’s hard for people to approach you if you don’t look at them.
4. You seem ready for a fight.
You may have a confrontational demeanor that tells people that you’re ready to snap. While you may not start fights, you’re known to assert yourself when it’s necessary.
What people perceive as hints of aggression, at the wrong time, can push people away.
5. You are a nonconformist.
You like doing things the way you want to. You don’t go with the flow of the crowd, so people don’t see
you as easy to talk to. You may not seem as though you have anything in common with them.
6. You’re a loner.
You don’t mind being alone, and people have accepted you that way. It’s become a norm, so people don’t really try to reach out to you.
Why we need to be more approachable
1. You widen those circles.
You make more friends when you look less stiff and stony. People are more willing to reach out to help you when you’re in need.
They’re more willing to be your companions when you’re alone at parties or events.
2. You open more doors.
You’ll be given more opportunities when you seem more friendly and accessible. People tend to give chances to those who are a little more social and open. It’s hard to do so with people whom they don’t know so well.
3. You look at things a little differently.
Knowing more people means broadening your perspectives. Everyone else will have a new way of looking at life. They help you grow and shape your own unique outlook.
4. You have better peace of mind.
You have greater peace of mind when you know that everyone is happy with you.
That alone gives the impetus to reach out to others.
Being more approachable
What would make you more approachable
Simple ways to be more approachable
1. Flash a smile.
A smile works wonders. It takes over 135 muscles to frown and only 27 to smile. I’d use my muscles in a way that requires less strain.
2. Let others reach you.
We’d need to be more accessible if we want others to reach us. If we are incommunicado, it’s difficult for others for others to know how to locate us.
If you haven’t already, get yourself on social media. You’ll find yourself widening your social circle quickly.
3. Don’t shield yourself.
Have you noticed people who love hiding behind plants or bookshelves at social functions? Small wonder that others find it difficult to talk to them.
In social situations, be a little more aware of your surroundings. If you’re being blocked, unblock yourself so that you’re a bit more obvious.
4. Keep your head up.
I used to have the habit of looking down whenever people came my way. It’s not a very inspiring habit and closes others off to us.
Keep your head up, because you deserve to, and it draws people to you.
5. Look them in the eyes.
As a teacher, I advised my students to look examiners in the eyes before taking any oral examination.
Those who did were a little more confident while speaking and really engaged the examiners they were talking to.
7. Move towards them.
This doesn’t mean moving so close as to be scary. But do establish body language that shows your interest in the other person.
It always encourages them to speak with you at length.
8. Ditch those nervous tics.
Emma Watson or Hermione recently shared that she loves to play with her hands a lot.
Star that she is, the young lady’s habit might put off new directors approaching her to star in movies.
Nervous tics do discourage people from speaking with us, because they are distracting and show some lack of confidence.
9. Be a mirror.
You’ve been warned. Use this technique with discretion.
Mirror the body language of the person you’re speaking to. It helps you maintain an appropriate tone when speaking to him or her. It also helps the two of you to connect.
Be careful not to overdo this lest you look awkward.
10. Give a little back channel support.
A few “uh huhs” helps to show the person that you’re listening. Known as backchannel support, it assists communication.
Again, be wary of overdoing its use. Too many “uh huhs” makes the conversation awkward and sends a totally different message from the one you want to convey.
Above all, being more approachable means being positive and leaving an aura that’s pleasant. No one’s drawn to gloom!
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