I have seen a lot of posted articles on LinkedIn about how we should comport ourselves when interacting with others in business or other settings. They talk a lot about the do’s and don’ts.
Some of this advice is a no-brainer. Fidgeting/nervous behavior, looking at your phone a lot, and self centeredness are universal “don’t dos.”
Others of these statements, however, may not be as universal, and most often have to do with the specific values of the person writing the article. I read blanket statements like… “Don’t be late to appointments” (although this is definitely a good policy, it matters more to some personalities than others); “Make eye contact, but not too much because it could creep the other person out”; and “Always have a firm handshake,” to name a few.
The problem with the latter statements is they do not take into account the code/values of the person you are interacting with. In the values-based system we use, we base how we communicate on the code of the other person. For instance, if someone is a high Nurturer, then bring on the eye contact! The more the better! Nurturers want to know you are genuine, and if you will not look them in the eyes, and continue not to do so when you are in conversation, they may suspect you have a hidden agenda.
If the person you are meeting is high Knowledge or Blueprint, then yes too much eye contact can make them nervous. A firm handshake is very important with most high Blueprints, not so much with Nurtures, and is almost always NOT OK with high Knowledges, especially on the first meet. (Touching is often a problem for them and a forced handshake can actually be detrimental to the communication.)
My point is that blanket statements like these can actually be a disservice, especially to people who are new to networking and meeting lots of people.
It is of critical importance to respect the values of the people we are conversing with, and this can be done without compromising our own values when we understand that people view the world differently. We can learn how to determine what someone’s values are and respond accordingly.