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Art of Eye Contact

March 8, 2009

Eye contact (or lack thereof) provides a great deal of information about your demeanor and sends strong signals to your audience.  Professionals rarely take a moment to consider their level of eye contact and the message they may be sending.

You’ve likely heard that eyes are the windows to the soul.   One’s eyes are the first things people often  notice when meeting one another.  The amount of eye contact used when conversing sends a strong signal to others about you self-confidence.  Too much eye contact can be seen as very aggressive, while too little eye contact is often viewed as as being shy, reserved or even worse – disinterested.  Eye contact is critical to master for effective communication and networking.

Maintaining consistent eye contact by looking someone in the eyes during a conversation sends a subconcious signal that you are honest and interested in the other person.  Being able to look someone in the eyes and maintain eye contact  presents oneself as confident. Your audience will take you more seriously and view what you have to say as of importance. Eye contact lets people know our emotional connection and level of interest in the conversion.

Eye contact is the most important form of non-verbal communication and will often illustrate the attitudes one person may have towards another. For example, looking away while speaking implies weakness or insincerity. Maintaining eye contact when your head is slightly raised portrays superiority and staring is just plain scary.  Most people avoid eye contact because of fear or pressure, when in reality maintaining eye contact actually reduce fear and anxiety by drawing your audience closer. Making good eye contact reflects self confidence and provides direction, authority and meaning to your conversation or message.

Eye Contact Exercise:

For one day, memorize the eye color of everyone whom you engage in a conversation.  This will force you to look them in the eyes enough to make note of their eye color.   That all it takes.. Practicing this simple exercise will build self-confidence, reduce conversational stress and improve your communication.

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