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The Art of Networking: Shake hands and Maintain Eye Contact

After smiling, extend your hand to shake theirs. Make sure you shake the hand of the person like you mean it. Firmly. But not too firm. PLEASE don’t shake it like a dead fish. You are making a first impression. You have one chance so don’t blow it! Nobody likes to shake hands with someone who is not interested in meeting them. When you shake someone’s hand, do it like you mean it.

While shaking their hand, look at them squarely in the eye. Don’t be one of those people that shake hands and look at the sky, the drapes, the carpet etc. Again, if you don’t look at them, they will feel that you don’t mean it or are not interested in meeting them.

Sometimes, our eyes and body language speak even more than words. Keeping eye contact with the person you are talking to shows that you are actively listening and paying attention.”

Keep Eye Contact. When you are having a conversation with anyone, remember eye contact. It will convey to them that you are interested in meeting them and in hearing what they have to say. I recently relocated down to Georgia from New York. Wow, what a difference. In NY people tend to keep their eyes down when walking and avoid making eye contact. This can be a way to avoid confrontation, to become one of the crowd and not be singled out or noticed.

In GA I have found this isn’t so. Eye’s up and make eye contact. As a matter of fact once, when I first moved down to GA, I was looking at the ground while I was walking and would you believe somebody actually stopped me and asked if I was OK? My point is that you need to keep your head up and your eyes focused on the person you are speaking with. When you fail to maintain eye contact with your audience, you appear less authoritative, less believable, and less confident. When you don't look people in the eye, they are less likely to look at you. ... Sustained, focused eye contact makes you feel and convey more confidence and helps you act more assertively.

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