Look ‘Em in the Eye: Part II – How to Make Eye Contact the Right Way in Life, Business, and Love

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 12, 2012 · 45 comments

in Dating, Fatherhood, Friendship, Marriage, Relationships & Family

In our first post in this two-part series on eye contact, we discussed the importance of eye contact and some of the reasons we don’t always feel comfortable looking someone in the eye.

But just because eye contact is a great thing and a vital tool for improving the quality of all your face-to-face interactions with others, doesn’t mean that more eye contact is always better or that all eye contact is created equal. You have to do it right—at the right time and in the right way. How to do that is what we’ll be exploring today.

We’ll start off with a primer on how to make good eye contact in general conversational situations, and then we’ll tackle eye contact tips for specific scenarios. Let’s get started.

General Principles for Making Effective Eye Contact

Eye contact begets eye contact. You might be hesitant to make eye contact with people because you don’t think they want to make eye contact with you. And sure enough, when you look at them the first time, they look away. But they’re probably looking away because they’re thinking the same thing you did; that you don’t really want to make eye contact with them! Even though you made the first move, they’re still worried about rejection. But most people are just waiting for permission to get into a mutual gaze. Studies have shown that once one person in a conversing pair initiates greater eye contact, the other person will follow suit and increase his or her own level of eye contact as well.

But don’t be a creeper. In order for eye contact to be effective, it needs to be welcome and appropriate. When eye contact is unwanted, it goes from gazing to staring, and being stared at makes people uncomfortable. Eye contact results in physiologic arousal—it increases prefrontal brain activity and activates the sympathetic nervous system, speeding up a person’s heart rate, perspiration, and breathing. And this happens not only when you’re directly looking into someone’s eyes, but also when you simply perceive that someone is staring at you. This arousal can be a good thing–if you and a lovely lady are looking into each other’s eyes, it can create a more intense connection.  But when someone fixes their gaze on you in a creepy way, it can feel as if a predator is stalking you in the wild; it sets off your threat-o-meter.

Thus good eye contact is based on mutuality. As Michael Ellsberg, author of The Power of Eye Contact, puts it:

“In order for eye contact to feel good, one person cannot impose his visual will on another; it is a shared experience. Perhaps eyes meet only for a second at first; one partner then tests the waters and tries a few seconds, and when that is met warmly, the pair can begin ramping up the eye contact together until they are locked in a beautiful dance of eyes and gazes.” [emphasis mine]

After you’ve made two attempts to initiate eye contact with someone, if they don’t reciprocate at all, give it up.

When you’re with someone you’re not as familiar with, lean back as you increase your eye contact. The bit of added space between you balances out the greater eye contact you’re making, allowing the receiver of your gaze to feel more comfortable and keeping the intimacy level from ramping up too quickly. Conversely, when someone is talking to you about something intense and personal, lean in as you hold their gaze to show that you’re giving them your full attention.

Focus on one eye at a time and switch between them. When you’re sitting close to someone, you can’t actually look at both of their eyes at the same time, and if you try to, your gaze will become off-putting and laser-like. You may have never stopped to think about it, but when you look someone in the eye, it is literally just their eye; you look at one of their eyes at a time. You probably already have one eye (the left or the right) that you tend to focus on, but it’s good to switch your gaze from one eye to the other during a conversation (it looks more natural and show more attention and interest). Don’t flit your gaze between their eyes too frequently—you don’t want to appear as if you’re watching a ping-pong match. Smoothly and naturally.

Some people suggest that since you can’t look in both of a person’s eyes at the same time, you should just stare at the bridge of his or her nose. But people can sometimes tell you’re doing that, making the tactic seem artificial and even manipulative.

Don’t overdo it. More eye contact is good…up to a point. You don’t want to lock eyes with someone for an entire conversation. About every 5 seconds, or about the time it takes to speak a single sentence, look away from their eyes for a beat and then back again. Find a natural rhythm–don’t be counting the seconds in your head.

If you feel lost as to how to find that rhythm at first, try the “triangle method.” Look at one of the person’s eyes for a beat, then the other eye for a beat, then at their mouth, and then back at their first eye. Repeat. As you practice this method and get a handle on what good eye contact feels like, you should be able to jettison the set pattern for a flow that comes naturally.

It’s fine to look away from someone when you’re trying to gather your thoughts.

Also note that it’s quite normal and appropriate to break eye contact and look away from someone as you recall a memory, mull something over, or gather your thoughts about what you want to say next.

When you break your gaze, look to the side, not down. Looking down when you break someone’s gaze signals lower-status, shame, and/or submission. Not the kind of message you want to convey. Instead, break your gaze horizontally.

Work your way up. Improving your eye contact is something you can do relatively quickly and easily. It just takes practice. Start out by increasing your eye contact with your family; you may find you don’t even look your own brother in the eye when you talk to him. Then increase your eye contact with your friends, and then your co-workers. As you start to feel more comfortable holding people’s gaze, work on making eye contact with salespeople and waiters. Finally, start making eye contact with strangers and new people you meet. Before long you’ll be a veritable eye contact expert!

Eye Contact Tips for Specific Scenarios

In Business and Sales

When giving criticism/feedback to an employee. Sitting directly face-to-face makes the conversation seem more intimidating and interrogation-like. Instead, sit across from the employee at about a 45 degree angle, with the hand you’re writing with closest to the employee. This angled position makes it more natural for you to oscillate your gaze between the employee’s eyes and the paperwork in front of you.

When trying to make a sale. If you’re a salesman, making eye contact with potential buyers is important in building trust and rapport, but it’s also useful to watch for when they make eye contact with you. They’ll often do that when you’ve said something that especially interests them, so pause and expand on that point or product feature.

When you’re making a pitch. Make eye contact with everyone in the room. Don’t make eye contact with the president but not the veep. Don’t forget to make eye contact with the secretary too.

In a job interview. In a job interview, eye contact is second in importance only to dress when it comes to nonverbal influencers. One study found that interviewers “were more likely to hire and rate as credible and attractive interviewees who maintained a normal or high degree of gaze than those who averted their gaze.” So be sure to make good, solid eye contact with the interviewer using the tips above.

When You Want to Intimidate

Make more eye contact when you speak than when you listen. People who have higher-status make more eye contact when they’re speaking, and less eye contact when they’re listening; this shows power. Those with lower-status do the opposite, and this shows submission. A high ratio of speaking to listening eye contact is referred to as visual dominance.

Now keep in mind that in most interactions, even if you do actually have higher-status than the person with whom you’re conversing, the best way to go is to make equal amounts of eye contact whether you’re speaking or listening. It pays to make a lot of eye contact when listening, as it makes the other person feel important, and making other people feel important is the linchpin of becoming charming and thus persuasive. Famously charismatic men like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were well-known for their ability to make each person they met feel like no one else in the room mattered, and they did that by locking eyes with the person and really listening to him or her.

But in situations where it would be advantageous to show that there’s a pecking order, and that you’re on top of it, try making more eye contact when you speak and less when you listen.

Hide your eyes. When someone covers his eyes, the communication and feedback between him and another person becomes one-sided. The “eye-less” guy can see what’s going on with the other person, but the other person doesn’t know what’s going on with the eye-less guy. This is why studies have shown that those who cover their eyes seem more powerful and in control—although this imbalance also naturally creates resentment from those they interact with. This is why police officers in mirrored shades can seem intimidating, why people who wear sunglasses indoors tick other people off, and why Darth Vader is so dang scary.

Stare ‘em down. When you can’t or don’t want to cover your eyes, but you still want to intimidate someone, it’s simply a matter of staring them down and not being the one who looks away first. The person who maintains his gaze shows dominance and higher-status, while the person who looks away first signals their submission. Maintaining your glare shows that you’re confident, which can sometimes help psyche out an opponent, or convince the guy who wants to fight you at the bar to back off.

MMA fighters are masters of the stare-down:

Meeting the Eyes of a Stranger on the Street

First, why would you want to do this anyway? Well Michael Ellsberg argues that making eye contact with strangers you pass on the street is not only excellent practice for making eye contact with people you actually know, and can lead to getting more dates, it can even “transform the urban landscape:”

“Before I started doing this, I would walk around the city and mostly view the other people I encountered as obstacles or annoyances. But once I started doing it—once I started looking into the windows of hundreds of people’s souls each day—the whole scene shifted. I suddenly saw so much beauty out there, so much sadness. So many heavy burdens, so much joy…The city became a symphony of emotion—all from this simple shift.”

According to Ellsberg there are a few keys to successfully making brief eye contact with strangers on the street, and they basically all revolve around the fact that you don’t want your eye contact to make people feel threatened. First, he recommends keeping your facial expression neutral and your gaze soft—the eye and face muscles are relaxed–no laser-eyes. Second, you don’t want to initiate eye contact with someone from too far away; you should attempt to make eye contact with the person when you’re about 4-5 paces from crossing paths. Finally, only look into their eyes for a quick moment—about one pace or just long enough to see their eye color.

When Talking to Other Men

As we mentioned earlier, eye contact creates physical and psychological arousal, increasing activity in the receiver’s prefrontal brain and speeding up their breathing and heart rate. For men, this physiological response can make a high-stakes conversation feel too confrontational. So when you want to talk to another man about something important, do it side-by-side—go for a drive, or a walk, or fishing together.

When Trying to Woo Women

Eye contact is one of the best ways of building attraction with the ladies and is beneficial in every stage of a relationship:

The Initial Encounter

Making eye contact with a woman. While you may think of your level of attractiveness as set in stone, studies have shown that how attractive you look to others is influenced by things like your facial expression, and, you guessed it, whether or not you’re gazing in their direction. Simply looking at a woman directly, while also smiling, makes you appear more attractive to her. The most attractive face to show a woman is one with direct eye contact, a relaxed face (don’t show tension, especially in your jaw), and an easy smile.

If a woman meets your eyes, don’t be the first one to look away. Remember, the person who holds the gaze longer shows power; you’re not literally trying to assert your superiority here—holding your gaze simply signals your confidence, which is attractive to women.

Interpreting her eye contact. When you look over at a woman, she will usually look away, whether she’s interested in you or not. But the way in which she averts her gaze tells you a lot about whether she wants you to approach her or not:

  • If she looks down and then looks back at you less than 45 seconds later, she is almost definitely interested. This sign is so nearly fail-proof that you don’t need any smooth pick-up lines when you approach her—just offer your hand and introduce yourself.
  • If she looks away horizontally, she’s not sure if she’s interested in you or not yet. Smile and make eye contact again to see how she reacts.
  • If she averts her gaze by looking up, she’s not interested. Basically, she just rolled her eyes at you.

After You Meet

Once you’ve caught a lady’s eye, and have started talking with her, don’t let up on the eye contact, because it will continue to reap benefits. In our previous article, we talked about the way in which eye contact fosters intimate bonds, and that’s a boon if you’re trying to win over a woman.

In a study conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron, strangers were brought into a lab and paired off into opposite sex couples. The newly-formed couples who were asked to look into each other’s eyes for two minutes straight later reported feelings of attraction, affection, and even love for their partners. One of the couples even went on to marry.

Once You’ve Been Together Awhile

So eye contact can help initiate a relationship and then deepen its intensity. It can also keep feelings of love alive in the long-term. Studies have shown that couples with the strongest love for each other also make the most eye contact and hold mutual gazes for longer periods of time. Now correlation isn’t causation—does gazing at each other more keep you in love, or is it just that those who are in love want to look at each other more often? Probably more of the latter, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to try to “see” (in the Avatar sense, naturally) your partner more often. Make some googoo eyes over dinner from time to time.

When Giving a Speech

Speakers who make eye contact with the audience are perceived as more trustworthy, competent, and confident. Eye contact also helps you build a greater sense of intimacy between you and your audience, and this connection creates ethos; which in turn makes your message more convincing. Someone who’s constantly looking at their notes seems nervous (Do they have something to hide? Are they not competent enough to prepare adequately?) and is more likely to be dismissed.

When you’re speaking to a large audience, it is of course not possible to make eye contact with each and every person in attendance. Some people will tell you to fake it by looking over everyone’s heads—but you won’t convince anyone with that method. You also shouldn’t do the head bobber thing where you look at your notes for a second and then quickly at your audience and then back at your notes…Finally don’t “spray” your gaze over the audience like you’re shooting it from an aerosol can. Instead, you want to make actual eye contact with individual members of the audience.

In order to be able to do this, you first need to try to memorize your speech, and if you can’t do that in its entirety, then create an outline with just your main points, so that you only have to look down a few times to find your way.

Now that your eyes are free to roam around the room, you can go about making eye contact with folks in the audience in a few different ways, depending on the size of the audience:

30 people or less. When you’re addressing a small group, say around a conference table, don’t keep moving your gaze clockwise or counterclockwise around the table, stopping to make a few seconds of eye contact with each person before sweeping around again. People will begin to anticipate and sort of dread their “turn.” Always be looking at someone, but keep who you look at random and mix it up throughout your presentation.

30 or more people. Try the triangle method; it’s much like the triangle method for face-to-face interactions mentioned above, only with whole persons swapped for the individual’s eyes and mouth. Imagine an invisible triangle sitting on top of the audience. You make eye contact with a person on the right side point of the triangle, and then the top point, and then the left point. Then repeat. To mix it up and keep your pattern from becoming predictable, you invert the triangle from time to time.

75-300 people. Divide the audience into five imaginary groups, and then move your gaze from group to group, picking a different person within the group to make eye contact with each time.

300+ people. If it’s a very large audience, then focus your eye contact on people in the first few rows, while also looking out into the crowd from time to time.

With any of these methods, the key is to move your gaze from person to person very casually and smoothly. You don’t want it to seem jerky…”You there! Feel the weight of my eyes! And now you! Now you!”

3 final tips for speeches, regardless of audience size:

Open with eye contact. When you get to the podium or the front of the room, take a few second to smile and make eye contact with people before you even begin speaking. This starts you off on the right, connected foot.

Don’t keep your eyes glued on the Powerpoint slides. First, you should take the advice of Alex Hunter and keep your slides extremely simple and clean. And second, you should be extremely familiar with what’s on each slide so that you don’t have to keep looking at them and boring the pants off people by reading the slides to them.

Look at both friendly faces and hostile faces. Don’t just make eye contact with the friendly faces in the crowd. Look at the hostile, bored faces too. Making eye contact with them could soften them up a little for your message. But after looking at a hostile face for a bit, then look at those who are beaming up at you to keep your enthusiasm from flagging.

Don’t forget to make eye contact with people at the end of the speech. It’s easy to get caught up in rushing to finish, but the crescendo is when you really want to leave an impact. Be sure to look into people’s eyes as you close to really drive your message home.

Note: The principles in this series are written for men who live in Western countries. The importance of eye contact and how to make it can vary from culture to culture.

Sources:

The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love, and Life by Michael Ellsberg
Handbook of Interpersonal Communication by Mark L. Knapp and Gerald R. Miller
Sex Signals: The Biology of Love by Timothy Perper
Learning the Look of Love” by Cheryl Murphy
Communication Theory by C. David Mortensen

 

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave February 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Hi Brett — thanks for the article. Guys tend to pick this stuff up by modelling it from other men who are confident and do eye contact well (but usually can’t articulate it as clearly as you just have). For those of us without strong role models in this area, the information you’ve presented here is super helpful. It’s helped me a lot.

2 Doug February 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Excellent advice, I’m always self conscious of eye contact, I know I don’t do it enough, so I try, then feel I’m starring, and look way away (never was sure where to aim my pauses in eye contact).

I’ve always been a mouth looker when people are talking too, so your tip of eye, eye, mouth, seems really natural to me (I find looking at the mouth helps me hear the words, not just listen to them as well)

Can’t wait to start being able to put this advice to practice!

3 Nik Rice February 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I’m still working on this even though I “won” my wife over eye contact while we were working together. She told me that she never made eye contact with people but I was somehow different. I was doing it on purpose.
Also, I am a teacher and eye contact keeps people from thinking you are a recording and makes them feel like they have to keep paying attention.

General Conference of the Latter-Day Saint faith is a great example of eye contact as well.

4 Derek February 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

This article caught me by surprise. After reading the first part, I went to school and made an effort to look people in the eye when i talked to them. Right away i recognized that I have NEVER looked anyone in the eye. I always looked at their mouth. I was convinced I couldn’t be this far off on something you say is so critical to success, like as long as your looking them in the mouth, bridge of nose, etc. its equivalent to “looking in the eye”. Im almost 30 years old and really think I’ve missed out on something. Definitely will work on it but this has been a real eye opener.

5 Core February 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I laughed a lot while reading this, because I’ve made a lot of the mistakes here, and some of the ladies I looked in the eye, I realize they may have thought I was flirting with them, and I didn’t realize it.. hahaha..

Well great write up. Learned a lot.

6 Lex February 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Twenty years ago, this concept was understood, taught and encouraged. Now, it seems that importance of eye contact has been set aside. Excellent article.

7 Will February 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Thanks for following up to the first post about eye contact. The bit on making eye contact with women, sadly, sounds like it’ll help me.

8 Victor February 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Brett – I dont know if it is you or me but the extra wit in this article had me laughing.

9 timeeater February 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

very interesting and helpful article!

10 timeeater February 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I’ve made eye contact naturally with ease until now, after having read this

11 Justin February 13, 2012 at 12:53 am

This article has helped me SO much. So many times I’m self conscious when people talk to me but now, I understand how to use and interpret communication through eye contact. Thanks guys.

12 Kash February 13, 2012 at 7:24 am

Hey,

Great article! It’s funny that no matter how much I groom myself or verbally charm my fiancee, she says it’s the way I look at her that gets her everytime!

13 Brent February 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

As some others have mentioned, I too have the habit of looking at people’s mouths instead of their eyes. Sometimes I’ll catch myself doing this and correct it and it improves conversation.

About the correlation and causation you mentioned about love, I believe this same principle can be applied to the other situations where eye contact is beneficial. For example, I recall two instances where I gave a presentation. One was in front of high ranking officers where I briefed a subject that I was not entirely sure about–a weather forecast actually. The other was a suicide awareness briefing in which I am knowledgeable to a small group of people I am comfortable with. During the weather brief, I don’t recall ever making eye contact with anyone but my PowerPoint presentation and notes. During the suicide briefing, I remember “naturally” distributing eye contact with each listener and feeling what you said, confident, competent, and trustworthy.

Nonetheless, if it is primarily correlation and not causation, I don’t believe efforts to better yourself by consciously applying these methods is futile.

Once again, thanks for the excellent article.

14 Darren February 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

Great advice — especially on speaking to a crowd. I often find sympathetic faces and focus on them…it makes me feel better, of course. I’ll try the hostile faces too. And looking up when breaking eye contact.

If you don’t think gaze is important in establishing dominance, go to the zoo and watch the monkeys. A staring contest usually ends up in a brief squabble. The loser doesn’t make eye contact after that.

15 Raul February 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Wow, amazing post and text :). I had read something like these in the allan and barbara pease books. Awesome, gratz guys! :)

16 Howard February 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

A very interesting article. I haven’t seen anything quite so good as this proved to be. Dale Carnegie said it succinctly, perhaps too much so. People often interpreted his advice to mean some form of manipulation.
You’ve brought a new level of depth to this topic. Thank you.

17 Mike February 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Great post! I think I do ok in this area but I definitely picked up some pointers.

One area I would be interesting in hearing more info on: eye contact with women you work with, meet in daily life, but are not “wooing”.

As a married man, I don’t want to woo any other ladies (1 is good for me), but I do want to communicate and interact effectively. Any tips for this situation?

18 James February 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

About not looking down, I see George Clooney do that very often in his interviews.

This is just an example;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82cP-sFu7U0

19 JerseyMike February 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Great article! I’ve read a few articles on eye contact before, but none of them had details like; how long to hold eye contact; where to focus and how eye contact varies with different situations.

Once again I’ve learned some very important information from this site, thank you.

20 Drake February 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Good article but great tips. I like the triangular method for personal and group settings. Thanks.

21 JR February 14, 2012 at 1:45 am

Great post and very handy for a lot of men. I make lots of eye contact and this intimidates men. I always thought it was because my gaze pierces past the surface but I read in the book Emotional Intelligence that the limbic system, our primitive brain, makes men more so than women, uncomfortable with eye contact because it is seen as a physical threat. Initially eye contact will feel like an attack for a man. I don’t know if this is true or not because it comes easy for me. However, eye contact is very important to establish a good connection with someone. So practice by using a mirror to gaze at yourself in the eyes.

22 jake February 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

This is one hellova article! I would like to add for the men out there, flitering your eye contact back and forth from eye to eye with the woman you are trying to woo works wonders in seducing her. I discovered this concept about 6 years ago when I noticed a fling of mine doing it to me. I’ve used it ever since and it works every time.

23 Jake February 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

This was a great post. I agree with almost every aspect, other than the wearing glasses part. In the picture provided (Cool Hand Luke), that type of wearing sunglasses makes sense. But if you’re the person who wears fashionable sunglasses indoors, the article does not apply to you.

A man is to be judged, and how he holds himself during judgment is how he tests his metal. Wearing glasses indoors is a sign of not wanting to be judged intimately, not romantically. It’s a sign of disrespect and lack of acknowledgement for common courtesy that does not actually translate into power and confidence as many people think.

The moral of the story: eye contact is intimate and blocking the lane does not always = power and confidence.

24 JR February 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Jake,

I agree with you about sunglasses. As a woman this means a man is trying to hide something. Not manly at all unless the sun is shining in your eyes. I always make eye contact with men as a way to flirt. If they get nervous I think its cute but if they look away too much then I take it as a sign of no interest even if that is not what they are meaning to portray.

25 Nick February 15, 2012 at 3:14 am

Possibly the most succinct summary of eye contact is this advert for the British Army: http://youtu.be/KzpoqVwjyuo

I can’t remember how many years ago I first saw it but it still sticks with me even now.

26 Julie February 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Great article – this covered everything I was thinking about after Part I. I realized, too, after reading this that I often tend to be a mouth-looker. Hopefully now I’ll remember to triangulate more often. Thanks.

27 Andrew Garceau February 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm

What should you do if you are walking and you and a girl’s (You don’t know her) eyes meet?

It is mentioned in the article not to look away first, but what if it is a girl you don’t know.
It just feels weird when you look a girl in the eyes and don’t know her.

28 Brew February 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Another lesson on eyes from the British, this time Michael Caine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddUbsWnEVXM

29 Jeff Schoolcraft February 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Great article. I included it in this weeks issue of Freelancing Weekly (http://freelancingweekly.com/issue-14)

30 Bellaisa February 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Looking at one eye at a time made me laugh – I thought I was the only one who did that…but now I know it’s natural!

Again your article was packed full of cool facts that I didn’t know. You are really informative and thorough!

I love the part about making more eye contact when you are talking if you want to intimidate. I will try that with my husband tonight. Lol. Just kidding of course.

Like you said about wooing women, the eye contact is not enough. I took many years of American sign language, and I know that it’s the whole facial expression that counts. While the eyes speak of happiness, interest, non-interest etc…the rest of the face backs up that claim. That smile normally nails it, and naturally makes your eyes appear very attractive as well. There’s nothing worse than talking to some lifeless person (even when they are giving you direct eye contact) and not being able to figure out if they are happy, interested, ticked off or just being polite. You have to make sure your facial expression match the eye contact in order to send the right message.

One more thing – I once was critiqued in an oral speech as ‘making too much eye contact with the other side of the room’. This actually hurt some people’s feelings and made them stop listening to me – so it’s important to really make that eye contact count. Great tips on that kind of eye contact!

31 Buddy February 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

This article was invaluable, I knew my eye contact was limited, but not this bad. However things are a changing NOW…

32 Doris Gray February 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

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33 Jonathan Gerber February 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Excellent article!

I’ve utilized eye contact a great deal in the last few years. As an employee at a grocery store, a smile and good eye contact does wonders in lightening a customer’s mood. Also, I’ve employed the eye contact in a crowd method. As someone else mentioned, life is so much more fascinating when observing humankind through their eyes, rather than seeing them as hindrances to one’s end destination.

I will most definitely make use of the eye contact with the ladies. The visual cue of whether she’s interested or not is truly extraordinary. It makes complete sense though!

34 Henrik March 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

There are two points that have not been addressed/clarified/mentioned in this article:
1) shifting your gaze in the triangle eye-mouth-eye signals a wish to kiss the person, and should therefore only be done with someone you would like to kiss.
2) if you are a man walking down a street locking eyes with other men, this comes off as aggressive. So unless aggression and/or rivalry is the message you would like to convey, don’t do it. It could land you in unfortunate situations depending on culture.

As mentioned these are cultural differences, but i think the two points above apply internationally.

35 Mike October 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

This is a very helpful article on eye contact: something you’d think should be instinctual, but isn’t always

36 James December 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I’ve realised I have a bad habit of looking sideways and off at something in the distance while talking to people sometimes! In many ways it’s my odd way of gathering thoughts as I talk, but often I notice people I’m talking to sitting opposite me leaning sideways to try and catch my eyes or even read my lips! Must be very annoying for the other person at times, even when I mean no disrespect by it – it’s just my own quirk!

Re the eye contact with women, one thing I’ve proved many times, now I’m in my 4th decade, is that a woman who meets \ sees you for the first time and gives you a stare like a deer caught in the headlights is 100 percent interested!! It might not happen to you often or might be a brief 2-3 second thing that could easily go over the top of your head if not paying attention, but mark my words that is very clear interest. Pupils obviously dilate too, but sometimes you can’t notice that specifically. It’s more just the look in general.

37 Ramzy January 2, 2013 at 3:13 am

Words cant describe how much this has benefited me. Thank you for your words.

38 Alejandro January 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

What a superb article!!

39 mike February 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I really enjoyed your article. I am going to try some of the ideas the next time I see someone. PS, my experience tells me that when a woman (ex-wife) stares at you with that look of 100% she is not the deer in the headlights…YOU are. !

40 Alex April 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Honestly I didn’t know anything about the eye contact thing until this one guy who goes to the same church with me started trying it on me. At first he just stared at me. Then after a while I started looking back at him, cuz I noticed that he’s totally trying to do something. So he did this for a pretty long time and every time I saw him in church i caught his stare. He still is kinda trying this,or not, i don’t know, but now almost a year passed and I actually started being attracted to him. And it looks like he started having feelings for me too. Several times he came up to my sister and asked how am I doing, or every-time I shake his hand he makes it feel nice and soft, he still looks at me a lot and i always see that nice and relaxed smile which i totally am in love with. But there’s just one little problem I am not sure if he actually likes me or is just trying stuff on me. It looks like he’s not but I know him already for 6 years and he is really good at hiding stuff so… That’s kinda the only thing i can’t figure out.

41 Paulo August 22, 2013 at 3:07 am

I like eye contact practice but i usually feels shy to do it coz of my lazy eye/cross eyed.

42 Steve November 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Some other speech tips: Don’t screw with your glasses, continually putting them on and taking them off. If you use a manuscript, slide the finished page off to the side as you make eye contact; they’ll watch your eyes, not your hand. Don’t flip the page over. If you are a hand waver, grip the lectern gently and use gestures sparingly. Stand easy and relaxed, no bobbing and weaving. Smile when appropriate, speak more slowly than would in one on one conversation.

43 nivas December 10, 2013 at 3:17 am

thanks for this article, it helps me how to connect with the people naturally.

44 Tali January 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

Great article, thank you! I’m going to try there ideas, specially the triangle!

45 Cynthia April 8, 2014 at 1:56 am

I am a woman and I still loved it. I was wondering what it is that happens between people when their eyes meet, and although this is not a scientific outlook it was super informative and interesting! Thanks

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