“Make eye contact to ensure that you make a real connection with each member of your audience, especially if it’s an audience of one.” ~ Mitch
Think back to the first person you dated. What was that like? That newness and feeling of “liking” someone…the wanting to spend more time with them and sometimes if you were really falling in love, wanting to spend every waking second with them. How did that happen? Chances are, at some point you made eye contact with that person. You probably smiled just before that too, right?
William Shakespeare said, “The eyes are the window to your soul.” If you TRULY want to connect with someone, make eye contact. This doesn’t mean glancing above their heads, stopping to occasionally look at their eyes. Really connect…eyeball-to-eyeball, pupils to pupils. See what they see. Feel what they feel. The art of connecting with someone by making eye contact can be powerful. The heart of connecting with someone is emotion, and what better way to create a stronger emotional connection than looking into the window of their soul by making eye contact. When you want to drive a point home you can use a pause in your speech and then make direct eye contact with someone.
This will have a longer impression and make (or break) a stronger connection, depending on the situation.
Here’s an etiquette tip. During a recent workshop, I had the pleasure of conducting I went around the room of seated attendees and introduced myself. I made it a point to specifically greet them by name, smile, look them in the eye and then outstretched my hand to touch both internally and externally the person I was trying to connect with. NOT ONE of the workshop attendees stood up to shake my hand. Proper etiquette states that when someone introduces himself or herself to you and you are seated and they are standing that you stand up, look them in the eyes and extend your hand and with a firm but warm handshake to make your greeting.
Eye contact is crucial in public speaking settings as well. Some of the WORST advice you can take is to “look over their heads” or even worse yet…picture your audience naked. Seriously? Who does that? This BAD advice was given as a way to help the speaker feel less vulnerable on stage by helping them feel the audience was vulnerable in an unclothed state. The key as a communicator is to BE VULNERABLE. We are all human. We all put on our pants (or skirts) the same way. Be who you are. You’re human and your audience will relate to real-world situations that you share with them. Your audience will connect with you more because what you are saying is REAL. You’re not a made-up character using a fake voice and persona.
Make eye contact to ensure that you make a real connection with each member of your audience, especially if it’s an audience of one.
ACTION STEPS: The next interaction you have with someone, look him or her in the eyes. Not in a creepy way, but in a way to understand them better, communicate on a different level with them and as a way to truly connect with them.
This article is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Creating Connections – Your Daily Guide to Building Stronger and Deeper Relationships from Certified Personality Trainer Vickie Musni and Gitomer Certified Advisor Mitch Taylor. To get your copy go to www.MitchTaylor.net or www.VickieMusni.com