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Reading a Business Contact #1

This is the first in a series on reading traits in the business world.

As you know, when you first meet a new business contact, how you come across is important to building rapport. Reading a few traits on a face can help you know how to best approach each new person you meet. By understanding such things as:

  • how a person processes information,
  • how much information they want,
  • whether they like a personal approach or an impersonal one

can help you get off on the right foot.

Body language experts tell us that the impersonal zone on a face includes the eyes and forehead. If you move your gaze down the face to the mouth, you are getting into a more intimate zone. So the traits in this series will focus on traits you can read in and around the eyes.

In this post, we'll look at two traits that are immediately recognizable and are very important to one's sense of space. Caveat: always be aware that traits interact and any given trait can have something else on the face that will affect it -- make it stronger or lessen it, perhaps even cancel it out. So once in a while someone may not seem to behave as a particular trait dictates they "should."

low eyebrows


Low eyebrows that are very close to the eyes show a naturally friendly person who is casual, easy to get to know, ambitious, and likes to touch things (and sometimes, they tend to touch people as well). It's their way of relating to their world. When you see someone with these eyebrows, meet them on their own turf. Be friendly, extend a hand readily. They will generally consider you a friend if they have met you and know your name. They  are turned off or even dislike people who are cool and standoffish.

I met a woman with these eyebrows years ago and after a ten minute chat, she excused herself to answer the phone and immediately started telling the caller that "you will have to meet my dear, dear friend, Sandra."  Ten minutes.


High eyebrows that are high above the eyes show a person who is more standoffish. They may seem somewhat aloof and harder to get to know. Don't try to pal around with them. They are turned off and even offended by someone acting like an old friend when they don't really know that person. Don't touch them beyond a hand shake. Often it's a good idea to allow them to initiate the handshake. Expect it to take a while for them to warm up to you. These people have to emotionally trust people before considering them "friends." As a result, most people will remain on their acquaintance list always. Just know that they have a very small circle of close friends, those they will do anything for, and it takes a long time for anyone to reach that level of trust with them. 

In business they will be outwardly friendly but there is always a reserve behind it. Respect it and you are on your way to slowly building trust with them.


Check your own eyebrows to see where you are in this continuum. In the middle is a non-trait. If you are at one end or the other, use this knowledge to help you shift to "talk to the trait" when you are dealing with the opposite. This will help you bridge the difference in approach.

Pay attention to eyebrows and behaviors and let it help you meet people where they are. I'd love it if you would share your experiences with this and leave a comment.

Next, we'll look at eyelids.