Is there someone in your office who people are just drawn to?
Maybe they know all the good news before everyone else. Or, they’re the first person your boss turns to for advice. Or, they command just about every meeting they enter.
I’m going to shatter all your “They must have super powers” thoughts, because getting people to want to talk to you is a skill anyone can acquire. I mean anyone.
All you need to do is copy these five habits of approachable people:
1. They Smile
Yup, it’s that simple. Smiling, according to research, not only makes you look more friendly and approachable, it’s contagious—meaning your good vibes rub off on your peers. And when people are happy, they’re more engaged in discussion.
Now, approachable people don’t smile all the time (because then they’d look crazy). No, they know when it’s appropriate—and when it’s better to put on a more serious, determined face.
2. They Listen (and Don’t Judge)
In one of our deeper discussions, my dad made an alarming accurate observation that still sticks with me to this day. “Alyse,” he said, “you’re a great listener, but you’re so quick to give advice that you don’t always just let people vent.”
And he was right: Not to pat myself on the back, but I cared so much about helping people that when they told me their problems, I immediately jumped to giving the best suggestions I could think of. I didn’t stop to question if they actually wanted my help—or just wanted someone to listen to them.
Popular people are not only active listeners (a.k.a., they don’t stare at their phones in conversations), but they also don’t impose their own views on others. They receive information without judgment, and only when asked, provide feedback and encouragement.
3. They’re Not Afraid to Be Vulnerable
This may sound odd—who wants to share their problems with someone who has enough of their own?—but showing vulnerability makes people feel like they’re not alone, and that they can trust you’ll understand where they’re coming from. If you can share your problems and discuss your flaws openly and confidently, it encourages people to do the same.
On the flip side, always appearing perfect can make you less approachable—not because people aren’t impressed or proud of your success, but because they may find you intimidating or fear your judgment.
4. They Have Killer Body Language
Just like smiling has the power to change people’s moods, great body language can make others open up to you more frequently.
According to body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards, instigating the “triple nod,” or nodding your head three times, convinces people to speak three to four times longer.
This also means avoiding body language that closes you off from others, such as crossing your arms or looking away.
5. They Ask Questions
This tip comes from Muse writer Ivy Shelden, who had success at a networking event as a result of this habit. She “realized [asking questions to the speaker] does two things: It provides the opportunity to be seen and heard by the entire audience at once—and it makes you more memorable to the speaker as well. As a result, people come up to you.”
So, how can you practice this on a daily basis? Don’t be afraid to approach people with questions or raise your hand in meetings. Your curiosity will mimic that of others—making people want to bounce ideas off you. And, it shows that vulnerable side of you that’s OK with not knowing everything (and like I said earlier, this is an attractive quality).
And, it even makes you look smarter—and who doesn’t want to talk to someone who’s smart?
And that’s it! Five easy ways to become more likable, approachable, and ultimately the number one person people turn to for a nice conversation, venting session, inspiration, or advice.
Riding the train of popularity? Why not test out these six fast ways to seem more interesting to anyone you meet.