The Importance of Eye Contact, Part Two
We’ve talked about the The Importance of Eye Contact, now its time to put it to use.
When you use eye contact properly, you avoid staring but still display interest and confidence. The simplest way to get started is by putting the 57 guide into action. This means, when speaking maintain eye contact for 50% of the time, when listening maintain it for 70% of the time.
The second important guideline to follow is when you do make eye contact, maintain it for four to five seconds, slowly glance to the side, and then look back again. This will break the illusion of staring. Remember to move your eyes slowly, and always to the side. If your eyes dart away quickly it makes you looks shy or nervous. If you look down it gives the appearance that you lack confidence.
In a nutshell, (by now you’ve probably noticed I always try to get directly to the point) this is all you need to know. But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you dangling on the edge of an eyeball. Here are a couple of pointers to help you on your way.
When speaking, make it a point to establish eye contact before you begin. Don’t look at your hands or your feet or the floor, make eye contact and then begin to speak. When you first meet somebody make eye contact and hold it for a few seconds before you say hello.
When listening, remember the 70% guideline, but also be aware of how you’re affecting the speaker. Make sure you’re face is open; smile, grin, or arch your eyebrows -just look interested. If they seem uncomfortable it could be from shyness or lack of confidence on their part, or perhaps your gaze is too intense. Reduce the amount of contact a little bit. Overdoing it can be just as bad as avoiding it.
If you find that you’re too nervous or uncomfortable, and instead of using the above guides as your base you’re still avoiding eye contact, then you’re going to have to work on it a little bit. It won’t take much to get the eyeballs rolling. First of all, if for whatever reason you just can’t do it, find an alternate place to look until you’re confidence improves. This means that if you look at their eyebrow just above the eye, look only at one eye, look between the eyes or at the mouth, you can essentially fake your way through it for a short period of time until you’ve got the swing of things. Secondly, get a little practice on yourself. Try looking into your eyes in the mirror, see whats really going on. There’s nothing to it, just try not to fall in love with your reflection, this rarely works out for the best.
If you missed part one you can find it here: