You have probably heard of a person having a magnetic personality. If something or someone is magnetic, the object or person has an extraordinary power or ability to attract.

There are two elements involved in becoming a magnet. The first is your ability to attract people. The second is your approachability, the extent to which others perceive you as being open.

In business, magnetism typically means being a centre of influence. This involves positioning yourself to attract other people to you. It means becoming recognised as the go-to person, the one with a broad network, the person who knows people who can solve problems.

That is the person you want to become because that is who you need to be to stand out from your competition.

The second element of becoming magnetic is your approachability factor. Professional speaker and author of The Power of Approachability Scott Ginsberg says that approachability is a two-way street. ”

Here’s a summary of his tips on how to maximise your approachability.

Be ready to engage

When you arrive at a meeting, event, party or anywhere conversations will take place, prepare yourself. Be ready with conversation topics, questions and stories in the back of your mind as soon as you meet someone. This will help you avoid awkward small talk.

Focus on CPI

CPI stands for “common point of interest”. It’s an essential element in every conversation and interaction. It helps to establish a bond between you and others. It increases your approachability and allows them to feel more comfortable talking with you.

Give interesting answers

When questions like “How’s it going?”, “What’s up?” or “How are you?” come up, Mr Ginsberg warns, don’t fall into the conversation-ending trap by saying, “Fine.” Instead, offer a flavoured answer: “Amazing!”, “Any better, and I’d be twins!” or “Everything is beautiful”.

The other person will instantly change his or her demeanour, smile and, most of the time, ask what made you answer that way. Why? Because nobody expects it.

Not only that, it is a perfect way to share yourself or make yourself available to others.

Don’t cross your arms

 At networking events, even if you’re cold, bored, tired or just don’t want to be there, don’t cross your arms. It’s a simple, subconscious, nonverbal cue that says, “Stay away”.

Would you want to approach someone like that? Probably not. So when you feel that urge to fold your arms across your chest like a shield, stop. Then relax and do something else with your arms and hands

Be open to options

Your friends, colleagues, customers and co-workers communicate with you in different ways. Some will choose face-to-face; some will e-mail; others will call; still others will do a little of everything. Accommodate them all. Give people as many ways as you can to contact you. Make it easy and pleasant.

Have business cards

At one time or another, you’ve probably been on either the telling or listening end of a story about a successful, serendipitous business encounter that ended with the phrase, “Thank goodness I had one of my business cards with me that day”.

Always remember: There is a time and a place for networking — any time and any place. You just never know who you might meet.

Don’t fear rejection

Fear is the number one reason people don’t start conversations — fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy and fear of looking foolish. But practice will make this fear fade.

The more you start conversations, the better you become at it. So be the first to introduce yourself, or simply to say hello. When you take an active rather than passive role, you develop your skills and lower your chances of rejection.

Wear your name tag

We’ve heard every possible excuse not to wear name tags, and all of them can be rebutted:

*    “Name tags look silly.” Yes, they do. But, remember, everyone else is wearing one, too.

*    “Name tags ruin my clothes.” Not if you use cloth-safe connectors, like lanyards and plastic clips.

*    “But I already know everybody.” No, you don’t. People join and leave businesses and organisations all the time.

*    “But everyone already knows me.” Even the best networkers know there is always someone new to meet.

Your name tag is your best friend for several reasons. First of all, people are less likely to approach you if they don’t know (or have forgotten) your name. Second, it’s free advertising for you and your company. Third, name tags encourage people to be friendly and more approachable.

The CPI is particularly powerful in networking for your business. Consider the people you know best right now. If you know them through work, they all share work with you as a CPI.

If you know them through your soccer league, they share your interest in soccer. With that in mind, you could be attracting people who later — after you’ve built a relationship starting from this common ground — could help your business.