Here's how to shift your mindset to embrace approachability, and begin to think of yourself as a host.
- So, we've been talking about what might be giving others the impression that you're unapproachable, but if you really want to change that situation, you have to really want to change. That involves cultivating the mindset of approachability. So, why should you bother and how can you change your thinking so that you're able to do something that, up until now, you haven't? First, to motivate yourself to do anything that stretches you outside your comfort zone, it's useful to focus in on the benefits. What will you get out of doing this? In the case of becoming more approachable, there actually are clear benefits.
You've somehow been putting up a wall between yourself and others, or at least they feel that way, so opening it up and tearing it down means quite literally, you're more likely to be approached. People will be more likely to seek you out and want to spend time with you and build social and professional relationships. When they get to know you and like you, of course, that makes it more likely they'll think of you for other things like promotions or other cool opportunities. If they don't know you and feel like you don't want to know them, you're never going to be top-of-mind for those things because you're a cipher.
Another trick that I love for cultivating the mindset of approachability is to adopt a host mentality. Let me tell you what I mean by that. It's easy sometimes, especially if you're at a big event where you don't know many people, to feel uncomfortable and get in your head a little bit. Oh, everyone here know everyone else and it's just me that doesn't fit in and all that, but when you become too self-involved, there aren't good consequences. It's usually a spiral where you stress yourself out and leave yourself feeling even less empowered.
Instead, though, if you cultivate a host mentality, you literally pretend you're hosting the event, your focus shifts. It's no longer about you, it's about other people. Look around, scan the room. Are there people standing by themselves? Or who look lost or nervous? Go over to them and make them feel welcome. Your job is to help others be more comfortable. If you do that, two things happen. One, they'll be grateful and two, you get outside yourself, and often you even forget that you were nervous.
Having a host mentality changes how you view yourself and how other view you. Finally, it's useful to ask yourself, what message do I want to give to others? What holds some people back from making themselves approachable is the feeling, not unjustified, that if you're too approachable, others will get a little too familiar and waste your time, for instance. You certainly don't want to swing from one extreme to the other, so get clear on the exact message you want to send. For instance, I value you as a person and also, my time is valuable and I need to work efficiently.
Knowing your message helps you work backward to create an action plan and allows you to ask yourself, is this action supporting both of those goals? For instance, if someone comes up to you and wants to talk, you dismissing them with a one-word answer does convey that you want to get back to work, but doesn't exactly say I value you as a person. So, demuring with a little more finesse, maybe, "I'd really love to chat now, "but I'm working on a tight deadline "so I need to get back to my desk," might be a better option.
When you get the mindset of approachability right, everything else falls into place.