Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Or is it really a secret? Actually, it’s two little things that if done combined, will make you instantly seem more friendly and approachable. That’s a big deal when your goal is to make friends and win people over. They are to smile and make eye contact. Not only in real-world encounters, but also in the virtual world online in your videos and your webcam encounters. This seems very basic, but don’t let it deceive you.
Combined this is a very powerful tactic. It instantly shows the other person that you’re open to talk and interact. Let’s take a look at them individually and then I encourage you to use them in combination. It’s hard to resist someone who smiles genuinely at you and keeps eye contact. That’s where the real magic happens, even though each one individually is quite helpful as well.
Let’s Talk About The Smile
Something special happens when someone genuinely smiles at us, doesn’t it? I’m not talking about the polite smile you get as you pass people on your way to work. I’m talking about a real smile that lights up the person’s face. It really is a powerful thing. It is universal across all languages and cultures. It signals that all is well and safe.
We are much more comfortable approaching and talking to a smiling person than a grumpy one. In fact, when we’re socializing, a smile can signal permission to approach. Think about the last time you were in a bar looking at a pretty girl. If she gives you a big smile, you’re much more comfortable walking over to talk to her.
The same holds true when you’re trying to reach out to new people and win them over to you. Whether if it’s in direct physical contact or virtually online. Start with a big, genuine smile and it will become much easier.
Now, this one may surprise you. When you are making an audio recording or writing an email, sales letter or an ad, put a smile on your face. That pleasant feeling will then come through in your style and content. There is something magical about that. Chances are that it will also put a smile on your listeners’ or readers’ faces and make them more receptive to your message. It’s worth a try, even if you don’t understand really why. You have nothing to lose and all to gain.
Getting Good At Eye Contact
Making and maintaining eye contact can be a little intimidating at first. If you’re an introvert, or simply not a very social person in general, this will seem hard, and possibly even scary. Your default reaction may be to avert your eyes and look down. That’s a hard habit to overcome, but it can be done.
Start with baby steps. Practice on people you meet as you run errands around town. The grocery store cashier is a great example. The next time you head to the store, make eye contact with your cashier for a few seconds. The next week, hold the eye contact for longer or make it multiple times. Keep practicing on people you meet as you go about your busy life and it will start to become easier. For virtual encounters via the internet it’s even easier, just look in the ‘eye’ of the camera or webcam. After all, that’s your audience’s eye, isn’t it?
As a matter of fact, the more you practice on ‘camera’, you not only come across more engaging with your audience, but you also get more confident on ‘camera’. You will be more inclined to make videos for your business, and as you know video is the way to go and ‘eye contact’ makes you more accessible.
While you are at it with your eye on the ‘camera’, lean forward once in a while. That will make your contact attempt even more personal and private like to your viewer. As if you are reaching out to that person in private. Again, every little thing you can do to establish rapport is worth trying out.
PS: Speaking of contact, if you want to know how to successfully develop and bring a digital product to the online marketplace, then check out this totally free webinar.
Be You, Take Charge, Inspire Others
John A. Williams
This is a guest post from John A. Williams, if you would like to be considered for a guest post please contact me.