For me, going out to dinner is my favorite way to socialize with people that I know, and is a great way to meet new people. My husband and I used to run into the same person quite frequently while going out to dine. Like most people, we have our favorite spots and would see some of the same people over and over.
One gentleman – we’ll call him, John, would greet us with a friendly smile, saying hello and shaking hands. Yet, John always seemed to need more. He was constantly looking around during the conversation to see who was there that might be even more interesting to talk to.
“Hello, I’m right here!” is what I wanted to say. John did this with everyone he met. If I felt that way, I’m quite sure they felt the same.
Someone like John wouldn’t last long in the world of business networking. People today are looking to form relationships with the people they meet while networking. John would be known as a WIIFM – What’s in it for me! Business men and women like to network with people who listen to what they say; not with someone who constantly gazes (The Gazer) around the room while they are speaking. Now, everybody is a WIIFM at times, but – come on!!!
Your eye contact:
- Tells the other person you are listening.
- Actually makes you a better listener.
- Focuses attention on the individual and makes him or her feel important while you look confident and in control.
Rules to follow in any circumstance:
- Make eyeball to eyeball contact 40 to 60 percent of the time during your conversation.
- Less than 40 percent makes a person seem shy or lacking self-confidence. Or, in John’s case, looking for someone better to talk to!!
- More than 60 percent eye contact will make someone feel uncomfortable, as if they’re being judged and examined.
- Eye contact is a sign of Trust.
Now – when John comes over to talk to me, I just ask him “Who are you looking for?”