|Current Adelaide time:||Contact me: +61 410 642 052|
62 Ways to MAXIMIZE Your Approachability
If you walk into your local bookstore and pick up any random title on interpersonal communication, the majority of the books will simply remind you to "always be approachable."
Wow, you think, thanks for the advice.
But when you walk into a room full of strangers, attend a national conference or start a new job, that advice doesn't help maximize your approachability.
In the book The Power of Approachability, my goal was to help the reader change his or her paradigm of communication and think of every interaction - big or small, online or off - in terms of approachability.
Now, as the research continues, I've created a new model. It's called The Approachability IndicatorT.
For the past five years, I've examined thousands of case studies, scientific journals, books, interviews, surveys and articles on what the world thinks approachability means. And although the research showed that various disciplines and people viewed the idea differently, there were several fascinating commonalities among all the sources.
This system will teach you what approachability is, why it's critical to successful communication, and it will provide you with concrete techniques to MAXIMIZE it.
The Approachability IndicatorT is based on the following model:
To begin, the word "approachability" derives from the Latin verb apropiare, which means "to come nearer to." Therefore, approachability is a two way street. And the model represents both inbound and outbound channels. Outbound, or proactive approachability, is stepping onto someone else's front porch. It's about being bold. It's about breaking the silence. And it's about taking initiative. Inbound, or reactive approachability, is welcoming others onto your front porch. It's about openness. It's about availability. And it's about making yourself accessible to others.
As you see from Fig. 1, all types of approachability fall into one of seven categories. As you read the list below, each section will give you several techniques to help MAXIMIZE it!
Building Social Capital
Willingness to develop new relationships
1) Acknowledge people you know
2) Welcome new business/personal relationships with various types of people
3) Network for the purpose of mutually valuable relationships, not sales
4) Become easily engaged by friends and strangers alike
5) Maintain the confidence to talk to high level professionals
6) Learn to enjoy meeting new people
7) Constantly enlarge your network
8) Make eye contact, even if you don't know someone
What You Say
Dynamics of conversation
1. Patiently allow others to interrupt you for conversational clarity
2. Leave a conversation making your partner feel good about himself
3. Make sure every person in the group is involved in the conversation
4. Allow people to finish jokes, even if you're heard them a million times
5. Break the uncomfortable silence when nobody else will
6. Still be friendly to others, even if you're in a bad mood
7. Change the subject when someone else feels uncomfortable
8. Be sensitive to other people's communication apprehension
9. Give people an experience, not just a conversation
What You Don't Say
1. You have two ears and one mouth - listen and talk accordingly
2. Use gestures when you talk
3. Wear clothes that make you look and feel comfortable
4. Give high-fives and hugs when appropriate
5. Vary your vocal inflection when you talk
6. Look ahead when you're walking, not at the ground
7. Smile when introduced to someone
8. Smile when you say goodbye to someone
9. Smile when you answer the phone
10. Keep your arms uncrossed, even if it's cold
11. Use adequate pauses during conversation, instead of talking for the sake of talking
Keeping It Real
1. Inspire others instead of impress them
2. Become the world's expert on yourself
3. Show others that you enjoy what you do
4. Be confident enough to be humble
5. Put your personality into everything you do and say
6. Have fun at work every day
7. Quickly make new people feel like they've known you for years
8. Be known by many people at your work, organization or faith group
9. Admit when you're wrong, don't know, or when you've screwed up
10. Be someone whom others "could tell anything"
Drop Me A Line
1. Return phone calls and emails within 24 hours
2. Carry several business cards in your bag, car or wallet
3. Avoid Hotmail, AOL or Yahoo for business transactions
4. Maintain a simple, easy-to-type, easy-to-remember email
5. Check your email at least three times a day
6. Offer various methods of contact (email, phone, fax, in-person, etc.)
7. Read emails aloud before sending them
Openness of personal space
1. Greet others, even if you're not designated as a "greeter"
2. Stop what you're doing to address someone who comes to you
3. Seek out the first timers at meetings and parties
4. Talk to people before and after meetings, events, programs
5. Go out of your way to sit with people you don't know
6. Do things that "aren't your job" if it makes others more comfortable
7. Share travel plans with people who might need to get a hold of you
8. Be accessible outside of group situations for people who are shy in front of others
Openness of mind and heart
1. Make every encounter with another person feel valued
2. Find the answers to questions you don't know instead of "faking it"
3. Address both trivial and serious problems of people who come to you
4. Receive criticism without taking it personally
5. Give criticism without sounding harsh
6. Listen to other people's viewpoints and ideas, even if you don't agree with them
7. Maintain openness, even about uncomfortable topics
8. Keep other people's secrets
9. Be a boss, friend, co-worker, colleague AND/OR subordinate
This model also revolves around five benefits of maximum approachability. These factors answer the question: Why is approachability so important?
The first is opportunity. With strangers, you never know whom you'll meet. With acquaintances, friends or family, you never know what you'll learn. And with people in general, you never know how it'll reciprocate. But you never will know until you take that first step. In other words, "you can't win if you don't play," "to grab the fruit you must go out on a limb," "the turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out," and the like.
The second benefit is confidence. When people perceive you as approachable, they are confident they can bring their issues, ideas and true selves to you. And when you equip yourself with the techniques and tips for starting, maintaining and closing conversations, it will reassure your own ability to become and UNFORGETTABLE communicator.
The third benefit of approachability is permission. Because we live in a fast paced, fear based culture, we need to inform others that it's ok to communicate. According to interpersonal communication textbooks, humans engage with each for five reasons: to inquire, to relate, to play, to help or to manage. Still, none of those motivators can be carried out without permission.
The next benefit is comfort, and it is absolutely essential to approachability. From remembering names to open body language to appropriate topics of discussion, comfort is king. And if you want to assure that co-workers, clients, friends, family - even strangers - can approach you AND be approached by you, they have to be comfortable. And so do you.
Lastly, there's trust; and it's the summation of opportunity, confidence, permission and comfort. Imagine you've got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Your cell phone has no service. You're stuck! So, you walk into town seeking help. About an hour later you come across two houses on opposite sides of the road. One is dark, deserted and dilapidated. The other has its lights on and a family sitting out on the front porch.
Which house would you choose?
99% of the people I ask this question choose the second house because it exudes opportunity. They're confident the family is friendly and they're comfortable saying hello to them. Ultimately, the front porch gives them permission to step up and trust that the strangers be willing to help them out of a bind.
© 2005 All Rights Reserved. Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability . He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at www.hellomynameisscott.com.
Reports I have written:
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.
Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.
It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.
Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.
Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.
But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.
Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]
If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to www.LeeHopkins.com:
Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.
Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...
Related material :
A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.
Better Business Writing
You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.
Well, now there is.
Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!
Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now! http://www.proposalkit.com
Social Media White Paper
Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.
Find out more about it (opens new window)
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...
What you say about Lee Hopkins:
"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "
"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"
"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "
"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "
"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"
"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"
"Oz's best social network strategist"
"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"
"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"
"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."
"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"
"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."
"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."
"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."
"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."
"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."
"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."
"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"
"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"
“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "
“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."
“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”
“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."
"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"
Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?
Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.
View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare
Why does employee communication matter?
Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare
For your consideration:
Writing for a web audience