You’ve seen them throughout your life: those special individuals everyone wants to be around, with their magnetic personality and welcoming demeanor. You can pick them out at every social gathering by all those smiling faces that surround them. 

And then there’s you and the majority of us: you might be just as successful, caring, and good-natured as those “popular kids,” but others don’t flock to you when you enter a room. It feels like just the opposite—people are ignoring you, and you can’t figure out why. 

As it turns out, even though you want to be friendly, you could be sending non-verbal signals that label you as unapproachable. Maybe all you need to do is to become mindful of these unintentional vibes you’re giving off and make a few changes. 

Here are a few things you might be doing that could be making you seem unapproachable: 

You don’t make eye contact.

If you avoid eye contact with others, you’re sending a clear message that you don’t want to be approached, even if that wasn’t your intention. It’s unrealistic to expect strangers to come up to you and start a conversation if you don’t allow them to catch your eye. 

Smiling does not come naturally to you.

You might be one of those people who are happy but give off a grumpy exterior. It’s not easy for some people to smile continuously, but when you happen to make eye contact with someone, nothing will break the ice quicker than flashing them a smile. 

Your body language says, “stay away.”

Standing with your arms crossed is almost always interpreted as a sign that you want to be left alone. Try standing with your arms by your side, and be sure to position your body towards people to give the impression that you are accessible. 

Your head is usually down.

Do you enter a room looking at your shoes? Or do you seldom look up from your phone? If so, you‘re giving others the impression that you don’t want to be bothered. People won’t feel comfortable approaching you if they don’t see your smiling face! 

You have some nervous habits.

Approachable people exude confidence, which is what makes them easy to talk to. On the other hand, those who display nervous habits—tapping their foot, fidgeting, etc.—tell the world they are nervous about having a conversation. While it’s not easy, keeping those habits at bay will help to make you seem more approachable. 

Use these tips to show that you’re approachable to your employees. 

Workers must know they can come to you when they need advice or help. By being approachable, you can raise morale and increase production without resorting to any other methods. An accessible leader is an effective leader. 

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