As I was reviewing my LinkedIn requests and perusing through posts, I realized something. I don’t trust requests from individuals that don’t post a picture of themselves. I pay less attention to things that are posted and liked by faceless LinkedIn users. And generally, I wrinkle my nose when I can’t make “cyber eye contact” with the person on the other end. This is bad. I might be missing out on someone that would be a great connection or scrolling by a great article that might add insight to something I am working on. You might be missing out too.
The power of eye contact and human connectivity has been studied for ages. There is actually a name for the study of eye contact – oculesics. For real, look it up. There are books, articles, videos, podcasts and oodles of other documentation that all agree making eye contact creates a human connection. You can almost see into someone’s soul with a long look into their eyes, some have said. It is the reason that advertisements draw you in with alluring look deep into the subject’s eyes. Humans are drawn to other humans through eye contact, period. There is unspoken communication in that instant.
You may argue that this doesn’t matter on social media, where you are distanced from the other person. Au contraire, mon frère! (that is the extent of my French, BTW). Your profile picture is your chance to make eye contact with the person on the other end, to establish that you are a real, professional, HUMAN BEING. You might even try smiling to look friendly and approachable. I often end up with a wry smile because I am still trying to break the habit of a closed smile to cover a mouth full of braces I wore for three long years during middle school years. But at least I am looking right at you. You, yeah you.
If you’re still reading this, I also don’t trust requests from a LinkedIn user when their profile picture is Joey Tribbianni with a “Hey, How ya doin’?” look either (…aging myself here). I don’t take article posts seriously from a gratuitously-cleavaged user, but that has been addressed many times over. Also, children are a beautiful, blessing from God. However, I am actually doing business with you, not your 5-year old. Please post your picture, not your child’s. I am done now. Nope, I am not. One last pitch for putting up your profile picture. Communication comes in all shapes and forms. These days, a big part is through digital mediums. Start by being a human being and connecting at the most basic level. So go ahead, post a big, beautiful mug of yourself, please!