First impressions are absolutely critical in customer service, the workplace and every aspect of our personal lives.
One of the important skills involved in creating positive first impressions is the seemingly simple act of making eye contact. Most of us already know this. Sadly, though, most of us are also really bad at it. We either fail to make eye contact, or quickly look away when someone makes eye contact with us. As Julia Roberts would say: Big mistake. Big. Huge.
The power of eye contact can’t be understated. When you master it, you will connect better with people and be more persuasive. People will perceive you as more confident, more trustworthy and as having a higher social status. Oh yeah – people will also perceive you as more attractive. Cool, huh?
Here’s how to do it
Aim for about two seconds if it is a passing moment in a social or business setting. If you are listening or talking with one person, maintain eye contact, but briefly break the connection every 8-10 seconds. If you really have a fear of this level of intimacy, don’t sweat it. Recent research suggests that you may not actually have to look at someone’s eyes and that just generally looking at someone’s face will do the trick.
Eye contact is one of those things that gets a lot easier with practice, and there are few things more worthwhile to get good at.
“Don’t be afraid to look into someone’s eyes. It lets you see each other’s humanity“
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