A few weeks ago, I was in the office delivering training sessions to some students who recently joined AIESEC. During a discussion about first impressions, one of the new members mentioned that I needed to make myself more approachable.
In many ways, I got the same feedback from other people, including the MC team here in Mongolia, as well as the MC team in Singapore.
Two of my MC teammates mentioned that they were scared to apply for the Mongolian MC based solely on the “professional” picture I submitted as part of my application, as well as the content of my application form and YouTube video. Peggy mentioned that she had the impression that I would get into fights with her; but then both of them mentioned how their initial impressions differed from reality.
I have noticed over the last few weeks that members have a tendency not to talk to me when they have questions, even when it comes to exchange. This has led me to think: am I really that unapproachable?
I know that, at times, I give off the impression that I am serious and hardworking – and I hope for a majority of the time, the impression does match reality. But am I perceived to be so serious to the point that people don’t like talking to me?
Perhaps it is because I am unusually quiet when I am around people that I don’t know. It is true that I am seen as one of the quieter members of the MC.
Perhaps it is because I am serious? When people show up late to a meeting, I tell them that they need to show up on time to the next one. I always make it clear that punctuality is important, but perhaps it is being taken the wrong way?
This has been challenging to deal with, as I do want to project myself as hardworking and serious, but at the same time, I want people to feel like they can talk to me at any time. I’m not too sure how to respond or to deal with this issue right now, but at least I know that approachability is something that I need to work on.