Fantastic Ways to Improve your Eye Contact!
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Fearing eye contact can interfere with everyday social interactions. The ability to maintain good eye contact is an important aspect of social interaction these days. People who look others in the eye are perceived as friendly and welcoming as well as confident. Some people feel discomfort about making eye contact or looking other people in the eye. They are unable to look directly into other people's eyes when talking or feel like they are being judged. Some people simply aren't as comfortable making eye contact as others.
It is important to make eye contact during public speaking. This skill is vital to create confidence in your listeners. Individuals can learn to improve their eye contact skills and become better at making good eye contact.
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One can improve their eye contact skills through two ways:
If you are talking to someone one-on-one, choose a spot directly between or slightly above the listener’s eyes. If this doesn’t feel comfortable. However, do remember to look away occasionally. Staring too intensely will make people uncomfortable as well. Employing these two strategies to improve your eye contact will make your listeners feel more connected to you and increase the likelihood that you will feel more comfortable when speaking—either to a group or to an individual.
Some additional tips include:
Use the 50/70 rule: maintain eye contact 50% of the time when speaking and 70% when listening.
Hold eye contact for about 4 to 5 seconds at a time, or about as much time as it takes you to register the color of their eyes. When you break eye contact, glance to the side before resuming your gaze.
When you look away, do it slowly. Looking away too quickly (darting your eyes) can make you appear nervous or shy.
Don't look down when you look away, as this shows a lack of confidence.
Rather than looking away, you can also look at another spot on their face. Imagine an inverted triangle connecting their eyes and mouth. Every five seconds, rotate which point of the triangle you are looking at.
Break your gaze to make a gesture or to nod, as this appears more natural than looking away because you've grown uncomfortable with the amount of eye contact.
Make eye contact before you start talking to someone.
If looking someone directly in the eyes is too stressful, instead look at a spot on their nose, mouth, or chin.
In a Group
When speaking to a group of people, instead of thinking of the group as a whole, imagine having individual conversations with one person in the group at a time. As you speak, choose one person in the group and pretend that you are talking just with that person. Look at him as you finish your thought or sentence. As you begin a new sentence or idea, choose another person in the group and look her in the eye as you finish your thought. Make sure that you eventually include everyone in the group.
Of course, the fear of keeping an eye contact will still linger around even after applying these ways. But then again, practise makes perfect. The more you do those tips, the better you get at holding an eye contact naturally. But always remember to not stare intensely.
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