Is your eye contact aggressive? Is it soft? Is it inviting? Do you show love with your eyes? Eye contact is a very tricky art to master but vital to effective communication. How can you make it better?
Eye contact provides social information to the person you are listening to and talking to. Too much eye contact and you could be seen as aggressive, and too little eye contact and you can be seen as having no interest in the person speaking. It is an often overlooked skill and yet critical to effective communication.
A physician once noted the importance of eye contact skills when he was counseling people face-to-face. He noticed when he broke eye contact, the person would stop speaking. When he maintained eye contact, the person would continue talking, knowing that he was interested in what they had to say.
Physiological Signs of Eye Contact
Street traders know the importance of the eyes when using their selling skills to keep their potential buyers interested. When you are aroused or interested in an object, your pupils will dilate and this is a big cue for salesmen all over the world.
Also, when someone is interested in someone sexually, their pupils will dilate and hold the person’s gaze a little longer than normal.
Everyday Conversation and Eye Contact
We use eye contact every day of our lives so it makes sense to learn the best ways to use eye contact skills to your advantage.
Certain situations demand different uses of the eyes. For example, if your are arguing, it is seen as strong if you can hold your gaze. If you are deferring to someone, it is better to lower your eyes. If you are loving someone, it is good to stare into the pool of the eyes.
6 Ways to Improve Eye Contact
*How to Improve Your Eye Contact / Eye Contact Skills
When talking to a group of people, it is great to have direct contact with your listeners.
Since you can’t maintain eye contact with just one person, because this will stop the other members of the group from listening, focus on a different member of the group (or a different section of the group) with your every new sentence. This way you are making contact with different areas of your audience regularly.
2. Talking to an individual
It is great to maintain eye contact when talking to a person, however it can become uncomfortable if you stare intensely at them. To combat this, break eye contact every 5 seconds or so.
When breaking the eye contact, don’t look down as this might indicate the ending of your part of the conversation. Instead, look up or to the side as if your are remembering something.
Try it just now: don’t move your head and think about an old memory such as when you were in grade school. You will notice your eyes might move up or to the side as you try to remember this. So, when your listener sees this, they will think you are trying to remember something, and they keep engaged in your conversation.
3. Listening to someone
When you are listening to someone, it can be off putting for the person speaking if you stare at them too hard. A great technique to use is something called, The Triangle. This is when you look at one eye for about 5 seconds, look at the other eye for 5 seconds, and then look at the mouth for 5 seconds and keep on rotating in this way.
This technique, coupled with other listening skills such as nodding and occasional agreement words, is a great way to keep the talker talking and to show them you are interested in what they are saying.
Arguing with someone is a skill in itself, and if you want to compete in an argument, holding your gaze shows strength. If you look away when arguing with someone, it demonstrates weakness.
Obviously this depends on who you are arguing with, but in general, it is better to hold the gaze whilst you are making your point and also when you are listening to the other person.
Staying silent and staring at someone who is trying to rile you is also an effective way to gain strength in an argument without saying a word.
5. Attracting someone
When you are trying to show someone you are interested in them, you can talk and listen with your eyes. When a person you like is speaking, use areas of their whole face as your focal point. Look at their eyes, listen to what they are saying, smile in the appropriate places, raise your eyebrows in the appropriate places.
If you feel you are staring at them too much, move your eyes to their other features such as their lips, their cheeks, their nose, and then back to their eyes.
Smiling when listening to someone is a great way to show you are interested in them, but obviously don’t smile unless it is appropriate to do so. You have to listen with your ears as well as listening with your eyes.
6. Loving someone
When engaged in a conversation with someone you love, the pupils will naturally dilate. Take notice of this and enhance your loving relationship with your partner.
One fun trick to enhance this further with your partner is to try this: As you are staring at your partner in conversation, imagine yourself going inside their body with your eyes and your two souls becoming one. This trick makes the pupils dilate even further.
Do you think you can use these techniques on how to improve eye contact, with the people you meet?