In business (and romance) good first impressions are, as Donald Trump might say, “UGE.” As as student of Behavioral Biology, I’m curious about the biomechanics of what happens when you look someone “straight in the eye.”
I recently came across these articles that address eye contact from two unique, well-informed perspectives.
In a post on her blog, The Brain Is Sooo Cool, professor Peggy Mason (@neuroMOOC) reports research that shows the longer your dog looks at you, the more you love her. Mason notes prolonged eye contact between humans, and at least between humans and female dogs (males are less studied), prolonged eye contact increase the production of oxytocin, the famed “cuddle hormone.”
Re-enforcing Prof. Mason’s cat point, however, women in business expert Lahle Wolfe (@abtwomeninbiz) writes that making eye contact will not always make you money. In her article, Business and Social Etiquette – How to Make Eye Contact Wolfe reminds us that culture and gender roles play a big role in whether or not to lock irises. In many Muslim countries, for example, it is considered inappropriate for a woman to look a man directly in the eye unless she is married to him or a blood relation.
- Know Your “Eye-dience” – When meeting someone from another culture, learn a bit about that culture and what is considered appropriate eyeball behavior.
- Look “Long Enough” – Eye contact is like salt, the right amount makes the dish better, too much messes everything up.
- Remember “Rover” – “The longer your dog looks at you, the more you love her.” When the time an place are right, eye contact is ‘da bomb!”
You only get ONE chance to make a first impression. A bit a pre-meeting thought now can make your next meet-up “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
I am an avid MOOCer and Artist In Residence for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. Contact me on twitter @c2st_artist.