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How To Present Yourself In A More Approachable Way

For much of my adolescence, I walked around with a permanent scowl on my face, self-absorbed and a little angry at the world. When I hit 25 I began to wonder why I was so unapproachable. Why did cashiers not smile at me? Well, the answer is obvious now, but in the moment I simply could not wrap my head around it.

Presenting yourself in a more approachable manner can have huge benefits for both your personal and business life and here is how to do it…

#1 Smile

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It is so simple, but something people often forget to do when they enter a room. First, a smile invites others to approach you. In addition, it indicates a pleasant demeanor. Furthermore, it shows warmth. Finally, it also invites others to smile and puts people at ease. 

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from BeenVerified

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#2 Actively listen

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Being an active listener means not only do you hear the words the speaker is saying, but you also try to understand the complete message the speaker is attempting to convey. Active listening will convey the message that you genuinely care about what the other person is saying. Active listening involves five steps.

First, pay attention to what the speaker is saying. For example, smile if they say something humorous or nod to show you are in agreement with them.

Second, show the speaker that they have your attention. For instance, lean in and make direct eye contact.

Third, provide the speaker with feedback. For example, say things like “I see. Sure. I can understand that.”

Next, don’t judge the speaker... Rather, show that you relate to them. For instance, you can share a similar experience with them to the one they are sharing.

Finally, respond appropriately to what the speaker is saying. For example, respond to feelings rather than focusing on content. “You are exhausted because of all the over-time you’ve worked this week.”

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from BeenVerified

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#3 Don’t shy away from eye contact

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Maintaining eye contact when you're talking to someone might feel a little daunting, but it's a good way to show that you're giving that person your attention. Even if you make passing eye contact with someone, try to send them a small smile instead of letting your eyes dart away. It's a small gesture, but people will notice.

Contributors: Grace Walz from Fueled 

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#4 Avoid negativity

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Remember the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Negative people are not approachable. No one wants to hear you say that you dislike the music and the food at the party. No one wants to have a conversation with someone that uses a first meeting as an opportunity to unload all of their worries. Be positive. Look for similarities. For example, perhaps you discover you both have kids. Perhaps you both have recently seen the same movie. Keep the conversation light. This is not an opportunity to start a political or religious conversation. 

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from BeenVerified

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#5 Pay attention to your body language

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Maintaining open body language conveys the message that you are open to communicating with others. For instance, keep your head up, make eye contact, keep your shoulders back, and rest your arms at your sides. Walking into a room with your head down indicates a lack of self-confidence. Avoiding eye contact makes you seem untrustworthy and disinterested in communicating with anyone. Having your shoulders bent forward and your arms crossed indicates a closed person. 

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from BeenVerified

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#6 Be aware of your facial expressions

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Facial expressions play a big role in how people perceive you. Next time you're in the zone at the office, try to catch a glimpse of what your face looks like with your phone. If you sense it could send negative vibes, try to loosen up or relax your muscles for a calmer, more approachable look. 

Contributors: Grace Walz from Fueled 

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#7 Put your phone away for a few minutes

We've all been there - we can't find our friends at a party so we dive into our phones and pretend that we're occupied. Next time you find yourself alone at a party, don't immediately pull out your phone and start scrolling or swiping. Look around, notice the people around you, and show that you've opened yourself up for conversation. 

Contributors: Grace Walz from Fueled 

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#8 Exchange Pleasantries

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Always greet people with a smile and hello. Ask the person that you are meeting how they are doing. Really care about their response. 

Contributors: Beth Shankle Anderson from The Style Bouquet

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#9 Follow Up Questions

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Follow up their response with a question to show that you are listening. It puts people at ease and makes you approachable.

Contributors: Beth Shankle Anderson from The Style Bouquet

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