When I used to get in trouble as a kid, which was fairly often, I remember my dad always lecturing me and telling me to look him in the eyes when he is talking to me. It is still very vivid in my memory so much that I now do the same thing to my kids when they get in trouble. Looking back at that, I realize that he was doing that for a reason and in turn, teaching me a very real life lesson. In my opinion, eye contact is the most important part of any conversation, whether you are in trouble or just conversing with someone. When a person is talking to you and you keep that eye contact, it is reassuring to the other person that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying, no matter how boring it may be.
I know people who have a real hard time keeping eye contact while having a conversation and it makes it very difficult to communicate with them. I find that this is more common with IT geeks that I know. Not to stereotype, well maybe a little, but IT geeks genuinely sit and stare at a screen all day, communicate via IM, Facebook and Twitter and do not always get up and make an effort to talk to others. With only a week until PASS Summit, try to make the effort to get out and talk to people. Start practicing the firm handshake and making eye contact. It really isn’t hard to do once you try. Get the jitters out now so come Summit time you will be on your A-Game!
SEE you at summit!