Many people never even consider the impact that eye contact can have during a networking meeting. Of course there are a number of different networking formats; speaking 1:2:1, speaking to the room, working in groups etc but on the whole, in all of these situations, eye contact is very important.
You must’ve met someone, at a networking event or even socially, that makes you feel awkward because they are looking everywhere but at you. That nervous energy just oozes from their very being and you soon find yourself wanting to chat to someone with a little more dynamic personality. If you want to make a connection with your fellow networkers then make sure you make eye contact with them.
Now, I’m not suggesting making eye contact to the point that the person your speaking with feels like you’re having a staring contest. I’m not sure what the person who looks away or blinks first would win, perhaps a note on their business card that they might be a bit of a fruit loop?
Making eye contact makes the other person feel listened to and connected with. When you’re looking at them you are not focussing on anything else and that gives a feeling of importance to the conversation. You’ll also most likely find that you also listen to them more intently too and so will take far more away from the conversation.
If you’re speaking to a room full of people then try to make eye contact with each person for a few seconds as you cast your eye around the room. Trust me, they will feel that you’re speaking directly to them and your words will have more impact.
A little trick if you’re feeling nervous and speaking to a group is to look just above their eye-line so it feels like you’re looking at them. Of course, direct eye contact is always best if you are up for it, if you’re just getting started then don’t worry if it feels awkward, it can take a little getting used to.
So next time your speaking to someone Be conscious about where you’re looking. Give them your undivided attention and make eye contact. Once you get into a habit of doing it you’ll never look back (couldn’t resist the pun!) 😉
As always I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this so please join in the conversation below…