5 Steps to Approachable Body Language

Posted: Dec 15 2014

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When you work in an office or an industrial environment, it is important that you collaborate and communicate with those around you in instances such as meetings, brainstorms and conferences, communication.

However, in the everyday office setting, people can come across as (unintentionally) unapproachable due to poor body language.

Here Team Challenge Company explains five approachable body language steps.

When we run our team building events, emphasise the importance of communication in teams.

Long before verbal communication begins though, teams and individuals need to encourage one another to open the communication channels; this is best done by emanating approachable body language.

You and your team need to make a conscious effort to appear approachable, and knowing the best examples of open body language will help you do just that.

So read on to see the five steps to approachable body language at work.

Make Eye Contact

People notice eyes when they look at someone, and they instinctively try to make eye contact with whoever they are looking at or whoever they want to speak to.

If you avoid eye contact or make it impossible for others to make eye contact with you, you will come across as standoffish, anti-social or even shifty.

You need to be careful that you don't stare people down, but you need to look at them long enough to establish a connection and encourage further communication.

As they say, it is all in the eyes, so make eye contact a priority if you want to be considered approachable.

Flash a Bright Smile

The easiest way to catch a co-worker's attention and let them know you are friendly, approachable and open to communication is to smile at them.

When you flash a smile, your face opens up, and your expression brightens, instantly making you seem approachable.

Subconsciously, we are attracted to cheerful expressions and smiling faces which are associated with happy and sociable dispositions.

Look Available

It doesn't matter how much you sit at your desk willing your colleagues to wander over for a chat; if you don't look like you're available, you won't see a soul.

Now, looking available and approachable doesn't mean you need a neon sign offering free hugs. You just need to make sure your posture is open; don't sit slumped with your head in your hands or your nose in your smart phone.

Look up, smile and make sure people know they are not an interruption.

Avoid Barriers

How you present yourself in terms of non-verbal communication and body language can determine whether or not you are seen as approachable or aloof.

Appearing approachable is not all about big smiles and wide eyes, it is about ensuring your body doesn't build itself walls. If you sit at your desk with boxes piled high, obstructing people's view of you, they will consider their presence to be an imposition.

Similarly, if you sit with your arms folded in front of you, your legs crossed and your head down, people will assume that means you want to be left alone. Remove these barriers and you will no doubt see a jump in traffic to your desk.

Look Invested and Engaged

At some point, you will end up speaking to someone, whether you are answering a question or engaging in small talk.

When this happens, you need to ensure your body language reinforces how approachable you are. Don't shut down the conversation by avoiding eye contact or mumbling, and make sure you look invested and engaged in everything that is being said.

Nod to show you are listening and paying attention, and ask questions to demonstrate interest and encourage further conversation.

These five steps are just the start of how to be approachable at work. Some people are particularly introverted or shy, and thus use props such as a jar of sweets, to encourage co-workers to stop by. Others will simply smile and wave people over. It is really a matter of personal preference.

Of course, if you want to make a concerted effort to improve communication, collaboration and approachability in your team, you can book a team building event with Team Challenge Company.

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