I love to people watch. I enjoy trying to “figure someone out” by watching how they interact and engage people. One thing I attempt to assess and measure is if you are you indeed someone people feel comfortable approaching and speaking with? Do you hold yourself in that way that people sense and feel that you are open? What is your “approachability score”? Approach or avoid? It’s your call.
To achieve success, we must be approachable. There is no arguing that fact. We all know what it feels like to meet someone who sends the message that “I am friendly”. I want to challenge you and ask if you are sending the messages that indicate that you are someone people can safely approach? Please don’t miss my use of word “safely”. That was not by accident. People watching has helped me aggregate some of the qualities and skills of people that I have found to be the most approachable and thereby the most successful people I have observed and am grateful to know.
- It starts with a smile. If you are smiling, this sends the incontrovertible message that you are not a closed or unfriendly person. Makes sense, right? No One wants to walk up to, talk and work with someone who frowns and looks like they are in pain.
- “Excuse me, I’m standing right here”. Eye contact is crucial and I can’t believe the people I have observed who are obviously engaged in everything else going on other than the person they are speaking with. Put your phone away and stop looking at your watch. 15 minutes of uninterrupted attention will yield a lifetime of good perception of your approachability.
- It’s all about ME”. People who are approachable, are not people who feel that they need to show everyone they are the smartest people in the room. They listen more than they talk and there is a silent sense of confidence that draws people closer to them.
- Body language. I notice how people physically hold themselves and body language is always a strong and reliable indicator of how comfortable people feel approaching you. What is your body language saying about you?
- “Present and accounted for!” I speak often and about the topic of being present in the context of my sales culture keynote. Approachable and successful people are present. Approachable people are deeply mindful of what is going on around them and make sure that the relationship they are creating is center and the most important thing at that moment.
- Getting defensive. This is a big deal. If you are getting defensive with people, you are not listening to what is happening, and it’s painfully obvious to everyone around you. You are not present and your flight or flight mechanism is in full “on” mode. Defensiveness is a surefire way to quickly kill any chance of sending the message that you are reliably approachable. When people get defensive with me, I often wonder “what are you afraid of or what are you hiding?” People who are approachable are not “right fighters”.
If you are wondering why you may not be achieving some of the goals that you have established for yourself, ask yourself if you are truly and consistently approachable. The most secure people are fundamentally approachable Insecurity breeds non-approachability. People make value judgments on many variables and it is essential that you do not discount how comfortable you make it to work with you. Being approachable is an intentional act and only you are responsible for making that happen. Approachable people are focused on the relationship and being a credible and sincere presence!
Approach or avoid? It’s your call.
Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after international keynote speaker, sales culture expert and author of “Everyone’s in Sales” and “STOP Apologizing and Start Selling”
Todd’s dynamic and motivational keynotes and workshops are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, Todd has led sales teams to deliver more than $950 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters.
You can also see Todd’s articles on Sales Culture in many magazines, trade journals and the Huffington Post.
For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please visitwww.ToddCohen.com
Follow Todd on Twitter @SalesLeaderTodd.
1 thought on “Are You Approachable?”
Thank you Todd for a great article. It was a good reminder that we needt to be approachable and make our relationships most important.
I am still applying the principals I learned in your seminars when I met you at Wolters Kluwer.
Keep up the good work!!!