Your guest is the most important person on your property. Could you be unintentionally offending him or her?
Great eye contact sends a message of welcome and sincere interest. Lack of, or poor, eye contact sends the message that you have no time for, or interest in, the most important person on your property! When speaking with your guest, you have to ask yourself, do my eyes support my words?
A University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center study found that in conversation, most people focus on the lower part of the face, the nose, lips and cheeks. How is this business-like? Not only is this distracting (for both you and your guest), but exactly what kind of interest in your guest are you communicating by staring at his or her lips? Looking below your guest’s eyes sends a strong signal that this is a social interaction.
If this interaction were to take place at a singles function, it would be obvious that you are establishing a degree of intimacy. This kind of interest is further established as your eyes move from your listener’s eyes, to the chest, and down even further. This type of eye contact is never appropriate in the hospitality business arena.
Politely speak with your guest while looking at his or her eyes for about 40 to 60 per cent of the time. Try looking at an imaginary dot that is placed right between your guest’s eyes. This will assist you in skillfully controlling a successful business interaction.
Looking at your guest more than 60 per cent of the time will make him or her feel uncomfortable; it will seem as if you are conducting an examination, perhaps being critical or judgmental. If you look at your guest less than 40 per cent of the time, you may appear to be shifty, embarrassed, or shy. It may appear that you are hiding something from your guest.
Gracious and professional eye contact tells your guests that you are listening and involved in their stay. The American College of Neurology tells us that you will be more positively perceived by your guests and more likeable when you hold your eye contact 40 to 60 per cent of the time.
This is great information for you to have! People are mindful of you as an industry professional. Keep up your sterling reputation by being aware of how your excellent knowledge of business eye contact can help to positively affect guest (and fellow-associate) relationships.
Excerpts of blog may have been taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, Ph.D.
“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”
— Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
See the book at: www.HospitalityManners.com
Visit Lyn at: www.MannersForBusiness.com
Lyn Pont, Ph.D. – World’s Top 30 Hospitality Professionals, Global Gurus
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