People may judge you if you avoid eye contact
Maintaining eye contact when someone is talking will help build trust because it shows genuine interest. Not making eye contact can create feelings of rejection and dismay. “Some people refuse to make eye contact with you if they don’t know you,” says psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson, author of Constructive Wallowing. “It could be due to shyness, but the lack of eye contact conveys arrogance or low self-esteem.” Either way, withholding your direct gaze, you project personality cues of being unfriendly and unapproachable.
Whether you mean to be frowning or not, an unhappy expression can suggest that you’re a Debbie Downer. Obviously you can’t go around grinning all day long, but flashing a smile or at least a neutral expression when you meet people can go a long way toward conveying a positive attitude. An article in Forbes suggests smiling when first meeting someone, even if you’re busy and or have other things on your mind.
The strength of your handshake
Handshakes are like a non-verbal welcome mat, says Lois Barth, a human development expert and author of the new book Courage to SPARKLE: The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life That Lights You Up. “A limp, what I call ‘wet dishrag’ handshake sends a strong message around the person’s ambivalence to both engaging and connecting with a person,” Barth says. On the flip side, a way-too-firm handshake, where you feel your hand is going to break off, can be seen as a sign of aggression and a need to dominate. “Often the person can show a need for control in other areas as well,” she says. The ideal handshake, according to Barth, is a firm-but-friendly grip with natural eye contact that sends a message of engagement and trust with a dash of warmth.