Eye contact is one of the most important communication tools you have. Used effectively and it will land you that new job or business you have been wanting. Use it incorrectly and you expose your faults and insecurities.
Known as the gateway to your soul, your eyes reveal much about you. As we all know, you have about 30 seconds to make a real impression on someone. Let them see who you are upfront by being sincere and honest in your look. Here are 3 ways to improve your eye contact skills:
- While Listening – Know who you are listening to. It can be intimidating for a shy person to talk to you if you have a harsh or overbearing stare. Be soft and inviting with your look. Use what I refer to as the “Looking Triangle.” Look at one eye for 5 seconds, then the other eye for 5 and then the mouth for 5 seconds. This will allow you to avoid staring and making that person uncomfortable. Also make sure you are giving validation to the person by nodding your head and saying yes in agreement. If you disagree wait till they are done with the statement to state your point.
- Talking to group – Making eye contact to everyone in the group is crucial for getting your message across. A common mistake is to focus on only one person. Always keep your eyes moving to new people. A good exercise is to look at someone different with every new statement you make. This will make you more comfortable speaking as everyone will be interested as they will be more engaged in what you are saying.
- Talking to an individual – Good solid eye contact will let the person know that you are confident in what you are saying. Don’t be creepy and stare for long periods of time. Make sure you look away every 5-10 seconds. A good thing to do is look up as if you’re thinking and don’t look down as this will alert the person you may be done or bored with the conversation. Eye contact will also give you the opportunity to see how your message is being received. You will be able to tell if the person is uninterested and can re-engage them by asking a question or changing your subject.
Eye contact is only one part of your body language, but I believe it’s a major part. With a little practice you can become an Eye Contact Genius!