The amount of eye contact we maintain during conversations is learned in childhood. A lack of eye contact is often interpreted as dishonesty or a lack of confidence. Like any habit, change is challenging and requires a little work. Even if you routinely stare at your feet while dealing others, you can develop the habit of maintaining eye contact during conversation.
Build your eye contact and have fun at the same time:
1. Practice your eye contact while listening to others. If looking someone in the eye while you’re speaking is too difficult at this time, look while they’re speaking. There’s a fine line between looking too much and not enough.
* Look them in the eye for few seconds, and then look at their mouth. After a few more seconds, focus your attention on their other eye.
2. Practice with strangers. Walk through your local mall or other crowded location. As you pass by others, look them in the eye and smile. When that becomes easy, say, “Hi” while maintaining good eye contact.
* Ask a stranger for directions.
* Ask a store clerk a question. Look the cashier in the eye while you’re paying.
* Use every opportunity to practice your eye contact skills. Have a chat with your neighbor. Have good eye contact with the other patrons while you’re out having a beer. People are everywhere. Imagine that everyone was put on Earth to help you with your eye contact.
3. Have a staring contest with a friend. If you can stare someone in the eye for 60 seconds straight, you’ll have an easier time maintaining normal eye contact during social interactions. Avoid just staring silently at each other. Carry on a conversation while you’re at it.
* Try the same activity, but with a child. Not only will you enhance your eye contact, but you’ll also get a good laugh out of the process.
4. Study the eye contact of someone with great social skills. Everyone knows someone that can comfortably talk to anyone, anywhere. Notice how they use their eyes. Where do they look? How long does it take before their eyes move? Where do they look after breaking eye contact?
5. Slowly increase the amount of eye contact you use. Add a few additional seconds of eye contact during your conversations. It might take a while until you reach a normal threshold, but the world isn’t going anywhere in the interim. Take your time and continue making improvements.
* The first few days will be the hardest. Your progress will soar after that. Just keep going.
6. Look near the eyes, but not into the eyes. This is difficult to do if you’re too close together. At normal conversation distances, the other person can’t tell if you’re looking at their eye, nose, or forehead. Pick a spot between the eyes, but just above or below the eyes. It’s much easier than maintaining true eye contact.
7. Use a mirror. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror. Maintain good eye contact with yourself. What will be the topic of your conversation? Perhaps you can discuss how good looking the face in the mirror is.
Eye contact is an important part of non-verbal communication. The proper amount of eye contact shows that you’re socially astute and confident. You’ll also be considered more capable and trustworthy. A little effort can enhance your ability to communicate with others. And you’ll be taken more seriously. Just look them right in the eye.