- Define unapproachable.
- Identify why others might perceive someone as unapproachable.
- List physical signs of approachability.
- Cultivate a mindset of approachability.
- Identify strategies to make yourself more easily approachable.
- Explain how to be approachable throughout your career.
Skill Level Beginner
- You may have been told you're unapproachable, or you might fear that you are. That's a problem because, of course, no one wants to go through life misunderstood. It's not like you're setting out to alienate people or keep them at a distance. So how can we fix it? First, let's get something out of the way. You might think that the required prescription for making yourself more approachable is somehow about changing your personality. You'd probably resist that, and for good reason. But that's not what we're going to talk about.
This isn't some quest to please other people or subjugate the real you. In fact, sometimes people thinking you're unapproachable is their own baggage. But other times, we may actually be doing something to prompt that reaction. So it's useful to really parse what's going on. What we're talking about is making yourself understood so other people can see the real you and get it, why you're valuable. Period. You don't want stupid surface things interfering with your message.
And oftentimes it really is a matter of small tweaks that can make a big difference in terms of how you're read. Even if seeming unapproachable has been a lifelong issue, you can fix it. It just takes the right mindset. I'm Dorie Clark. I teach for Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and I'm the author of Entrepreneurial You and Reinventing You. We have the ability to take control of how we're perceived by others and make sure we're sending the right messages. It just takes the right framework.
And that's what we're going to talk about now. From how body language influences approachability, to strategies for starting a conversation. Let's get started.