Being more approachable at work is a good skill to learn. It’s not something that’s really taught, but you can really tell the difference between those who are approachable and those who aren’t. Learn how you can use approachable body language to improve your career.
What is Approachable Body Language?
Let’s start off with working out what approachable body language actually is.
Body language is the hints or clues that you make with your body, whether you realise it or not, that indicate how you’re feeling and how you want to be portrayed. Body language can reflect many feelings – fear, anger, excitement, happiness, boredom, and many other emotions.
Approachable body language is these kinds of clues that make us look more approachable, that we are open to people approaching us and talking to us.
Sometimes we know that we are making these signals, and sometimes we don’t. It’s a kind of non-verbal communication.
The key to making body language work for you is to realise what you’re doing and how you can change it. In this article I’ll share a few reasons why exhibiting this kind of body language can help you, and some examples of what you could and shouldn’t do.
It Makes People More Comfortable To Approach You
The whole point of approachable body language is, well, to make people feel comfortable approaching you. You should be sending out these signals to others at your workplace that say, “Yes, I’m happy for people to come up to me”.
As I’m sure you know, there are many times where people need to come up and approach you. This could be them asking for advice, informing you about things that are happening, or just having a chat.
If people aren’t comfortable approaching you, they won’t. This can make you seem distant and not getting involved in the team.
Which brings me to my next point.
It Makes You Seem Like More of a Team Player
Being a more approachable person at work has many benefits, and I think the main one is that it makes you seem like more of a team player.
A lot of the time it will be people in your own team that come up to you and want to talk to you. They could be asking for work to do, asking you for lunch, or any number of things. If you are approachable, it makes them happier and more comfortable about speaking to you, and demonstrates that you’re part of the team.
If it’s someone that isn’t in your team, it’s especially important, as they may not know you very well and might not be able to tell if you’re in an approachable mood. The best way to show them that you are is by demonstrating this kind of body language.
Showing that you’re approachable at work, for whatever reason, will demonstrate that you’re more willing to work with others, and this is a great skill that can help improve your career.
Examples of Approachable Body Language
So, we’ve discussed what it is and why you should try to do it. Let’s have a look at some examples of good and bad body language that you could try to use when you’re at work.
- Uncross arms – crossed arms is usually related to thinking defensively and is something that should be avoided. Try not to cross your arms too much, if you can help it.
- Take your hands out of your pockets – putting your hands in your pockets is thought to be a nervous habit or showing that you’re uncomfortable. Also try to avoid this one, especially if you’re standing up.
- Look ahead and around, not down – looking around your area and surroundings can show that you’re open, rather than looking down. This works better when you’re standing, not so much when you’re at the computer.
- Smile – smiling is a great way to show you are positive and approachable. Obviously you can’t smile all day, but the occasional smile helps!
- Avoid nervous habits – habits such as biting nails and fidgeting, demonstrate that you are nervous and may be distant or not concentrating.
- Sit up straight – sitting up straight at your desk, rather than leaning back or forward, is a good way to demonstrate that you are approachable.
Well, I hope these tips have helped you realise that being approachable is a good thing for IT professionals. What other tips do you have for being more approachable in the workplace? Share your thoughts below.
Career Action Tip: Choose one of these examples above and plan to use it for the next week at work, and notice how you feel about it at the end of the week.
Lastly, if you enjoy the information and career advice I’ve been providing, sign up to my newsletter below to stay up-to-date on my articles. You’ll also receive a fantastic bonus. Thanks!
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net