Meeting New People – Be Approachable
So you want to make a good first impression when you meet new people at home or at work. Yes, you know already about dressing appropriately and being polite. But you want to go beyond that - you want to do your best to make sure that people really like you. Here are some tips;
Know what your body is saying. We all send messages with our body language. How we stand or sit often tells other people exactly how we are feeling – we don’t need to say a word.
If you are nervous, you can get tense and sometimes your posture says “Leave me Alone” or “I’m too busy to speak to you. That isn't what you mean but it can be what others think. So make sure you know what your body saying! Be aware of your posture and your gestures – make them welcoming.
Be open. Don’t stand or sit hunched, or huddled up. And don’t talk to someone with your arms crossed in front of you – they will think you don’t really want to know them.
Don’t angle you body away from someone when you talk to them. That sends a message that you are not really interested. Stand upright but not stiff – keep your knees soft and just slightly bent. If you are sitting don’t slouch but don’t sit stiffly upright either.
Use your eyes. Your eyes are a window – let other people see in! Look up and around you – don’t stare at the floor and do look at people when you are speaking to them Don’t be afraid to make eye contact – but please don’t stare or glare.
If you feel uncomfortable looking directly into someone’s eyes look slightly to the left or right of the eyes – it will look the same to them. Or you can look at their eyes and then at other parts of their face and then back to the eyes. It will be more comfortable for you and they will think you are still interested in what they are saying.
Smile - a warm and inviting smile puts everyone at ease. If you catch someone’s eyes across a room give them a little smile and smile as you talk to people. Smile and nod as you listen to them - it shows interest and appreciation.
People like gentle expressions so soften your eyes - this gets easier if you take a real interest in people. Remember when it comes to smiling – eyes mean more than lips in a genuine smile.
Beware of nervous gestures. When you are nervous, your body language can give you away. We all get nervous sometimes but it is better not to share this. Sometimes these nervous gestures can be misinterpreted as lack of interest.
You might find yourself touching your face or playing with your hair. Sometimes you might tap your foot. These gestures give other people the impression we are bored or not really interested in them. That isn’t what we intended but they can become barriers to friendship. So pay attention to what your body is doing and avoid these gestures if you can.
Take the first step and approach others. Why not take control and approach other people? It can make you seem warm and friendly so seek people out and start talking. You can ask how they got there or how they know the host. Move the questions on to their interests. Listen to their answers and show a real interest in them without overwhelming them and you will be well on the way to making a friend.
Wendy Mason is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.