When consulting with a client on their image and public presentation, we stress the importance of direct, consistent eye contact. Most of us have moments when we feel a little shy; even if only for a second. Some believe that more than a few seconds is staring and that would be rude. It’s a fine balance.
Making a great first impression takes only a second and making a bad one can last a very long time. It is in that second that we gain a client or a new friend; or appear disinterested or distracted.
When being introduced are we looking around to see who else is there?
Do we look away when conjuring our next comment?
Do we avert our gaze when met with a stranger at a conference?
Are we playing with our phones when in conversation?
Beyond regional culture or social circumstance it’s always about human contact. The electronic age has not negated the necessity for this base connection. The web cam aids in this goal. Teleconferencing gives this back to us.
When we are communicating we impart 90% of our message through body language and eye expression. We project our attitudes and goals with our eyes. Direct eye contact makes the other person feel valued. They will know you are interested in what they have to say and offer.
Direct eye contact offers an opportunity for more. It’s as simple as that. It leads to more. It can lead to a handshake, a smile, a new appointment, further introductions or just a friendly moment.
Whether you are standing with a stranger in an elevator, at a family gathering, a passenger on a plane, or working a room at a conference or meet and greet, good eye contact is a social skill that we can all learn. It is the original social media.