44 Ways To Double Your Approachability By Next Friday.
By Scott Ginsberg
Monday, 14th May 2007
Approachability is a two way street which derives from the Latin verb apropriare or "to come nearer to", which means it's proactive AND reactive, which means it's about stepping onto someone's front porch, which means it's also about welcoming someone onto your front porch.

1. NEVER leave your office, house (or anywhere for that matter) without at least 8 business cards in your pocket.  Because just when you think, "Yeah, but I won't need them when I go to the baseball game," you'll wind up sitting right next to a potential customer and saying, "Damn it!  I wish I had one of my business cards with me!"

2. When someone asks you, "So, what do you do?" offer an UNFORGETTABLE answer in less than five seconds that makes them say, "Really…?" "Cool!" or "Oh yeah, that sounds interesting."  Remember, even the most boring job in the world can sound magnetic, cool and unique.

3. If you read at least one book every year on remembering people's names AND stop telling people that you suck at remembering names, you will become amazing at remembering people's names.

4. If you refuse to wear a nametag because YOU feel uncomfortable, just think how uncomfortable OTHER people will feel when they forget your name.

5. If the only reason you're crossing your arms is because you're cold, that's exactly what your staff will think you are: cold.  And if the only reason you're crossing your arms is because it's comfortable for YOU; that means it's probably uncomfortable for one of them.

6. Sit with your toes pointing directly at your conversation partner.  Toes pointed away = resistance.

7. Don't try to be different.  In fact, don't "try" to be anything.  Just be.  Be yourself.  Be the world's expert on yourself, and be that person every day.  Nothing is more approachable than authenticity.

8. The more imitable you are, the less valuable you are.

9. Smile for ten seconds every time you walk into a room.

10. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.  So be friendly to everyone, especially people who appear unimportant.  Because you never know when you're being evaluated by someone who IS important.

11. Don't be afraid to interrupt someone by saying, "Wait, I don't know what that means."  It shows you're listening and shows you're human.

12. Walk slower.  Make it easy for people to get your attention.

13. Share you knowledge from your successes AND failures; and remember that people 1) remember stories, and 2) not to tell ‘em what you did - tell ‘em what you learned

14. Most people avert their eyes from oncoming strangers when they get within 10 feet of each other.  See how many of them you can get to acknowledge you in a week.  Then try to double that number the next week. 

15. Put a mirror by your phone.  Every time you answer it, you'll catch a glimpse of yourself and either smile or laugh.  And customers will hear your smile come through the line when you answer.

16. When one of your staff members comes to you with an issue, ask "What are three or four aspects that concern you about this problem?"

17.  Keep your door open.  No physical barriers.  And even if it means more team members stop by to "bother you," you will wind up learning more about what's going on.

18. If you're not sure whether you should hug or shake hands with someone, high fives usually suffice as a happy medium.

19. Stop saying, "No problem" and "You're welcome."  Instead, try "Absolutely!" "You got it!" and "My pleasure!"

20. Two words that will always make every customer happy: RIGHT AWAY.

21. Smile when you say "Nice to meet you," or else the other person won't think you're telling the truth.

22. Instead of staying "Next!" try something friendlier like "Step right up!" or "Welcome to Paradise!"

23. Make it easy for people who come to your website to get in touch with you.  On every page, put phone numbers, email, fax, screen names, your mailing address and any other medium through which customers can reach you.

24. And when your customers ask, "What's the best way to get a hold of you?" tell them, "Whatever you prefer.  I'm equally easy to reach via email, phone, fax or in person."  Let them choose.  It doesn't matter what you prefer because it isn't about you.

25. In the history of business, a client or coworker has never exclaimed, "Damn it Steve, why do you always over-communicate!?"  Less isn't more.

26. Take copious notes when you have an in depth phone conversation with a team member.  Then, before you hang up, tell the person, "When we hang up, I'll shoot you an email that summarizes everything we just talked about, that way we'll be on the same page."  Be sure to email that person less than 5-10 minutes later, if possible.  You'll blow people away!  Employees love to know that you've been listening.  Especially when you show instead of tell them.

27. Make at least one of your customers laugh every day.

28. Make at least one of your coworkers laugh every day.

29. Make at least one of your salespeople laugh every day.

30. Make a friend in less than 30 seconds with every person you meet.

31. Make eye contact for two extra seconds when being introduced (and saying goodbye) to someone new.  One-one-thousand…two-one-thousand…

32. In the event that you actually remember someone's name, always say it back to that person upon exiting a conversation.

33. Don't impress.  First inspire, then people WILL be impressed.

34. Email signatures don't need your entire life story.  Just be sure to include your basic contact information, and something that piques the interest of the recipient.

35. When you put an employee on hold for call waiting, tell them how many seconds to expect to wait.  For example, "Sandy, hang on 10 seconds.  Be right back."  Most people will actually count to ten in their heads.  That way, when you return, you've proved to them that they can "count on you."

36. Once a month, read 10 magazines you wouldn't normally read.  It's called an Eclectic Education, and it's the stuff great conversationalists are made of.

37. Every week, introduce one of your employees to someone new.

38. Discover the CPI, or Common Point of Interest, between you and your new friend as soon as possible.  Ask creative, unique, interesting, thought provoking and challenging questions like, "Can you describe the best day you had at work last year?"

39. Become a great storyteller.  If you're no good, rent a few stand-up DVD's and learn from the pros.  After all, people don't remember things, they remember stories.

40. Be able to answer the question, "So, what do you do?" in 5, 10, 20, 30, 60 and 90 seconds.

41. Keep your hands away from your nose or mouth while talking.  Freud says it shows dishonesty.

42. Once a month, go out to lunch by yourself and observe how others interact.  Take notes.  Focus on body language, posture, dress and anything else that nonverbally communicates. 

43. Spend lunch with your employees as often as possible.  Offer a casual, open environment that encourages both work related and casual conversation.

44. Google the words, "approachable," "unapproachable," and "approachability."  Spend 30 minutes a month reading up on people who are (and are not) considered approachable.  Look for patterns.  Then either emulate or avoid them.

© 2007 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 personal and professional approachability - one conversation at a time. To book Scott for your next association meeting, conference or corporate event, contact Front Porch Productions at 314/878-5419 or www.hellomynameisscott.com
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