When you meet people for the first time it’s always nice to make eye contact and smile. It’s a simple courtesy and leads to a relaxed conversation. If you tend to be a shy person, this may be somewhat difficult for you. You may tend to look down or away when greeting someone. This can break the conversation right away.
In his book, How To Connect In Business In 90 Seconds Or Less, Nicholas Boothman offers a really simple solution to the problem. When you meet or greet someone for the first time, just make a mental note of their eye color. This simple technique is amazingly effective. If you are looking for their eye color you’ll automatically make eye contact for a second or two.
I have found this works well one on one and is also effective in small groups. It really helps build rapport when giving a speech or presentation as it lets the audience member know that you are paying attention to them.
I speak quite often to groups of 10-20 people in Toastmasters. When I use this technique to make eye contact as I scan the room, I pause just long enough to build rapport with each audience member.
When you first try this you may find yourself saying blue, green, brown, etc in your mind, but you’ll find it soon becomes natural and is an easy habit to develop. It’s a simple exercise but you’ll notice the difference right away.
Try it in your next small group speech or presentation. Instead of an impersonal gaze over the room, if you make eye contact, you’ll find that you’ll build almost instant rapport with your audience. They will pay better attention to what you are saying and it may keep them awake after that long lunch.