While this will vary from culture to culture, in Western culture expect the person shaking your hand to make eye contact with you.
When speaking face-to-face and one on one with a person, the ideal amount of eye contact you should make during a conversation is 80%. The remaining 20% of the time will be used to develop your own thought process and allows the person, with whom you’re speaking, to also have time to think. The pause that a break in eye contact gives can make you appear as if you are more considerate with your thoughts.
Eye contact for more than 80% of any given conversation will have the person with whom you’re speaking feel that they are being interrogated and eye contact for any less than 80% of the conversation will have the person feel that you are disinterested in them.
When you are speaking with a group of people allow your eyes to scan from person to person to ensure that everyone feels that they are part of the conversation.
By making eye contact you will make a person feel included.
Be careful of transitions lens inside a building as your glasses may darken and people may confuse them for sunglasses. Sunglasses stop someone from seeing your eyes and, as we know, eyes are the window to our soul.
I remember once I was attending a cocktail party adn having an in depth conversation with a woman who spoke quite softly. As I suffer from industrial deafness from my flying days, (Or maybe it is just old age) I stood to the side of her so I could hear her. I had my good ear beside her voice. She abruptly stopped and berated me for not looking at her as she spoke. Fair point, I hadn’t explained myself, adn once she knew, that I could barely hear her, she allowed me to stand to the side. So, if you find that you have to position yourself in a manner that stops you from maintaining eye contact, do let your conversation partner know. Dont leave them hanging, as I inadvertently did.
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