Eye contact. What do you have to do in a meeting?

Some important do’s and do not’s of eye contact are:

· If you have trouble staring someone in the eye, simply focus at something on their face
· When speaking to a group look at everyone
· Look at people who are key decision makers or hold power
· Look at reactive listeners
· Don’t look at the floor, scripts or anything that causes you to tilt your head away from the receiver
· Don’t look at bad listeners that may distract you

Your aim should be to stay with a calm, steady, and non-threatening gaze. It is easy to mismanage this, and so you may have to practice a bit to overcome the common hurdles in this area. Looking away from the interviewer for long periods while he is talking, closing your eyes while being addressed, repeatedly shifting focus from the subject to some other point: These are likely to leave the wrong impression.

Of course, there is a big difference between looking and staring at someone! Rather than looking the speaker straight-on always, create a mental triangle incorporating both eyes and the mouth; your eyes will follow a natural, continuous path along the three points. Maintain this approach for roughly three-quarters of the time; you can break your gaze to look at the interviewer’s hands as points are emphasized, or to refer to your note pad. These techniques will allow you to leave the impression that you are attentive, sincere, and committed. Staring will only send the message that you are aggressive or belligerent.

Be wary of breaking eye contact too abruptly, and shifting your focus in ways that will disrupt the atmosphere of professionalism. Examining the interviewer below the shoulders, is a sign of over familiarity. (This is an especially important point to keep in mind when being interviewed by someone of the opposite sex.)

The eyebrows send a message as well. Under stress, one’s eyebrows may wrinkle; as we have seen, this sends a negative signal about our ability to handle challenges in the business world. The best advice on this score is simply to take a deep breath and collect yourself. Most of the tension that people feel at interviews has to do with anxiety about how to respond to what the interviewer will ask. Practice responses to traditional interview questions and relax, you will do a great job.

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