How to Make Your Body Language More Approachable
Summary (Click & Go):
- Smile more
- Stop rushing around
- Make eye contact with people
- Give feedback during conversation
Whether you’re in a position of power at work, you’ve started recently as a teacher for children or you’re just trying to be a more approachable person in general, there are all sorts of ways to achieve this. If you feel like your body language is putting people off from approaching you (even if you have all the good intentions in the world), let’s consider some ways you can change this instantly.
A smile shows somebody that you are happy to see them, talk to them or discuss something further with them. The opposite, either a frown or the omission of a smile, can put somebody off approaching you even if you haven’t intended that outcome. If you’re unfortunate enough to just ‘look unfriendly’ even without trying, you’ll need to put a little extra effort into making your face look happier and more approachable. Look at yourself in the mirror while you have a neutral facial expression, and think about how people might interpret your expressions.
Stop rushing around
People who rush around are basically asking people not to approach them. Rushing around gives the appearance that you are busy, stressed and don’t have time for what’s already on your list, never mind somebody else approaching you to say or ask something. Slow down, calm your mind, and if you have too much on your plate at work, speak to your manager about reducing your workload or working with you to manage it better.
Make eye contact with people
This is difficult if you are an introvert, but making eye contact with others helps them to know that you are available and willing to make contact with them. Avoiding looking at people shows that you are avoiding contact or are hoping that they don’t speak to you. Eye contact is something which works well if balanced – don’t stare at people but don’t look away either.
Give feedback during conversation
If somebody starts talking to you about something and you stay rigid and silent throughout, it will likely make the other person feel uncomfortable and much less willing to speak to you about something in the future. During conversations, give positive feedback where appropriate by nodding, smiling and agreeing with their statements. This is a particularly good idea if you are conducting interviews, chatting with people you manage at work or engaging with students about work projects or other issues.