When you are meeting anyone as a leader/manager, eye contact is fundamental. People who evade looking at the other person while speaking or discussing some pressing matters, they could be seen as untrustworthy, shiftless, or lacking in self-esteem. Or you could be seen as snobby or aloof. Any of these can be disastrous while attempting the first impression on anyone.
Eye contact for you may be quite different than it is for me because this has socio-cultural roots. In many cultures, eye contact can be somewhat rude or can be morally unacceptable. At the family level, your culture could consider eye contact to be wrong and disrespectful. Looking into anyone’s eyes when talking is maybe something that your family doesn’t do.
Here are five easy steps to handling eye contact as a leader.
Before you start speaking, carefully observe. Take notes of how other people manage eye contact. Begin with people that you know and who appear sincere and confident. Try to imitate their behavior. This can get you ready before the critical meeting.
Start with your lips and your eyes. Smile and exercise smiling with your eyes. Smiling is astronomical. Genuine smiles start with your eyes and work their way to your mouth. Genuine smiles seem relaxed, and it also relaxes the person looking at you. When you walk into anyone’s office, find something to talk about about the space.
“What a pleasant view you have.”
“I love this desk.”
A smile will make the person you meet acknowledge your positive vibes.
You can then sit relaxed without trying to attempt first impressions. This single tool is the most potent.
Listen More. The more effectively that you listen, the simpler it is to create a more natural connection. Listen to the person you are speaking with, decode their problem, and start to resolve their issue. As you concentrate on how you can be the answer they are looking for, you will ease.
Don’t talk, converse. Official meetings are stressful, but conversations are easy. You will be less stressed in a meeting if you ask questions. It would be best if you had several questions prepared. Ask the person you meet what they like best about the city they live in and the organization they are leading. Involve them in regular conversations.
If you still struggle, try to look at one eye. Some people who are still uncomfortable with eye contact don’t at first know where to stare. They shift between looking at the right and the left eyes and switch back immediately. This behavior causes the person you are meeting to react harshly. If you pick an eye, focus on just that one throughout the conversation, it’s more comfortable.
All of these methods mentioned above take practice. The best partner to practice these techniques is a dog. (Don’t expect your dog to be good at this!) Next progress to a kid. Once you have mastered your strategies, then practice on tellers at departmental stores. Make sure you make a bond, and it turns natural.