October 27, 2013 David Morin

3 Ways to Become More Approachable at Work or in College

Being approachable is how you convey yourself to others through your appearance, response and body language. Here are some tips on how to be more approachable to others.

Become more approachable in school by taking pride in your appearance

This is a two-step process for you to do. First, it’s important that you take pride in how you present yourself to others. While it is true that some people are superficial and will only speak to those wearing certain styles of clothing, makeup, etc, if you don’t brush your teeth regularly or wear clean clothes, then you lessen the chances of anyone approaching you. The basics you should follow are to keep your nails, hair, and teeth clean, as the way you take care of yourself will reflect how others perceive you.

Part two of this process is your body language. How you carry yourself through the hallways at school can play a huge part in whether others approach you. If you always have your head down staring at your smartphone or shoes when walking by others, there’s a high likelihood they won’t stop to talk to you. To rid this behavior try walking with your shoulders square and your head up. When you do this, you show you are interested in your surroundings. This gives others the perception that you are more approachable.

Be more approachable in college by developing good non-verbal communication behaviors

This can be tough especially if you are shy or insecure. Just the thought of making eye contact with others can seem scary. If you are scared to try this with others, start by looking into a mirror. Just speak like you would regularly while keeping your eyes focused on you. Once you feel more comfortable, find someone you are comfortable speaking with and practice making eye contact with them.

Once you have eye contact down, make sure to have an open posture when others approach you. An open posture means your shoulders are square and you are still. This can be difficult, because your natural tendency may be to look down or scrunch your shoulders together. This is another aspect that will take a lot of practice, but it’s important that you try. Your body language reflects whether you are receptive to others, and a poor body stance can reveal that you are not interested. As a result, others may not approach you if they perceive you are shy, as they want to avoid awkward situations.

Develop good communication skills to become more approachable at work

When coworkers approach you at odd times, it’s important to make them your primary focus. This is difficult to do when you have a hundred things going on in your mind. When this happens, make eye contact, smile and ask open-ended questions to the person who approached you. For example, if someone greets you with the standard, “Hey, how’s it going,” instead of saying, “Good,” which stops the conversation dead in its tracks, try to be more engaging by asking that person how their project is going or if they caught the latest Walking Dead episode . By asking that person about something that is relevant to them, you show interest in them. This will make you much more approachable in your coworkers’ minds.

Ultimately, a big part of being more approachable is learning the right behaviors. By taking these tips into consideration, it can help you learn how to be more approachable to others.

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David has really done his homework on this site - much of the content is derived from psychological studies, and he takes care to explain concepts in a way that makes them easy to apply. Plus, his content is ethical and scrupulously avoids shady tricks or manipulative techniques.

Dan Wendler Creator of the 260.000+ subreddit /socialskills