Eyes are powerful things. So powerful in fact, they can make or break job interviews and even future relationships. Check out these nuggets of wisdom below to ensure you put your best impression first in any given situation.

Job Interviews

Jobs aren’t won with eye contact, but they can be lost. Most job interviews are actually decided in the first couple seconds. Our bodies have an ability to very quickly make assumptions about a person, based on the first couple of micro interactions. So, giving eye contact, a handshake, then showing you are comfortable and confident can literally change the whole interview.

After your initial impression, be aware of how you answer questions during the interview. Most people, when thinking about an answer, will look to the side, or away. That’s okay and perfectly natural, but make sure to also make eye contact back and forth when speaking. Looking at the wall or your hands is just a sign that you’re not comfortable, and it sends that signal to the interviewer.

Projecting Strength

When you are able to confidently make eye contact, it’s a signal that you’re present, capable of leading and just seen as a more likeable person. When it comes to work and career, more likeable people are generally promoted faster and further.

So, make eye contact with everyone at work, including your boss and company executives. Give them the affirmation that you heard what they’re saying.

Don’t Stare

Having made a connection through eye contact, there’s then the inherent risk of throwing it all away by staring. Think on this: People get uncomfortable after seven seconds of silence, but only two to three seconds of eye contact becomes uncomfortable.

The trick to avoiding the ‘awkward stare’ is to make ‘face contact’. Basically, you look at the chin and face for one or two seconds, then the eyes for one or two seconds, nose for one or two seconds, then total face. In doing that you’re softening your gaze, and it gives the impression that you’re interested in the person and the conversation being had.

But, Don’t Look Away Too Fast

Don’t stare but don’t look away. The worst thing you can do is immediately look away because it can give the sense that you’ve been caught doing something wrong. This is not a good sign and can lead to a break in the interaction. And when you do that, it suggests you’re not interested, and the person will be turned off.

Another reason to really fine tune your face contact skills.

End With A Visual Thanks

Just give thanks. This applies to just about every type of interaction you could encounter. Words are strong, but so is acknowledging someone when they’ve just provided a service – whether through the gift of a chat or a server bringing you a drink. Eye contact can literally just say, ‘Hey, I see you. This coffee is amazing. You’re a human. Cool’.

It makes a big difference, so look people in the eye and say thank you.