Use Eye Contact to Create Better Relationships
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to make new friends so easily, while others find it difficult to form successful relationships with new people?
In many cases, it's the effective use of eye contact that makes all the difference!
Researchers have discovered that one of the most striking differences between people who are socially confident and who make friends easily, and those who are shy, is that confident people make eye contact much more often with their conversational partners.
Many shy people never make eye contact at all when they are talking with someone. Instead of looking at the person they are talking with, they tend to look downward or away.
If you have been less successful in making friends than you wish, you may be able to become much more socially successful by making this one simple change in your behaviour.
Learn to use eye contact effectively when you are talking to someone.
Some of us never make eye contact with our conversation partner when we are talking.
This can make other people think we are nervous and untrustworthy.
On the other hand, some of us make too much eye contact and stare too hard.
This also makes our conversations partners uncomfortable.
Learn the right balance of making eye contact and looking away.
Most North Americans, especially Caucasians, prefer to have a lot of eye contact when they are talking with someone.
When a person doesn't make eye contact with them, North Americans tend to assume that person is hiding something.
The very phrase "shifty-eyed" connotes a person whose eyes dart around the room, implying that they are untrustworthy.
When you are speaking with someone who is from a culture that prefers a lot of eye contact, be sure to keep looking at that person frequently while you are talking, even while you are wondering what to say next.
You don't need to use a piercing stare, a friendly gaze will do.
If it really bothers you to look directly into another person's eyes, you can look at the person's face without focusing solely on the eyes.
If you gaze generally at the eyebrow area or the bridge of the nose, this is close enough to the eye region that you will appear to be looking at the person's eyes.
You may find that it eases your own discomfort if you let your vision go slightly out of focus.
Whenever you are in conversation with someone, keep the majority of your focus on the other person.
If you glance around the room too much or look too frequently at other people, your conversation partner may assume that you are bored, or that you are looking around for someone else you would rather talk with.
If you have difficulty knowing exactly how to make eye contact, you can benefit from practising in front of a mirror, or with another person.
Don't stare at other people too intensely, however!
A very intense, unblinking start can make your conversation partner feel very uncomfortable.
It can be very unpleasant to be on the receiving end of an intense stare, particularly at close range.
You can lighten the impression you are making by smiling more often, nodding, and by gazing at the entire face as well as the eyes. In addition, you can frequently glance away for brief periods.
Practice looking at your conversation partner's face while you speak, and mix in lots of smiles and nods, occasionally glancing away while you speak and while you listen.
This will show that you are friendly, interested and approachable.
When other people get the sense that you are really paying attention to them and that you enjoy talking with them, they will be much more likely to want to have more conversations with you.
This article is written by self-help author Royane Real who is the author of the short report "Your Guide to Making Friendly Conversation"
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