Today I had the privilege of working with some fantastic year 10 pupils from Mayfield School in Portsmouth as part of a pre-work experience conference organised by Portsmouth Eductation Business Partnership (EBP) .
I was part of a speed networking event where various local employers and entrepreneurs spent 10 minutes each with several year groups,being grilled about the world of work. These students were about to go out and spend two weeks with local businesses to give them a taste of what the world of work was really like.
To be honest I was a bit nervous of the whole thing as modern teenagers get portrayed as inattentive troublemakers. These amazing young people proved that this is a gross generalisation. They were great and asked some searching questions.
What I particularly noticed, was how confident many of them were and how that were able to meet and hold my gaze as we conversed. I am a passionate believer in the importance of ones ability to make and hold eye contact in order to facilitate assertive communication and establish mutual respect. Well many of these students could have put a lot of much older people to shame.
They weren’t aggressive, they just wanted to be taken seriously and respected. By connecting with each other through eye contact, we were quickly able to establish mutual respect and effective communication.
I’m confident that they will enjoy their placements and learn much, not only about work but also about themselves. So take a leaf out of their book and make sure that you make and hold comfortable eye contact.