Upping your eye contact game
Given how easy it is to learn, understanding how eye contact works has a disproportionately large effect on how we interact with people.
Here are 5 steps to upping your eye contact game in about two weeks 👇
Step 1: Knowing where to look
Most people haven’t got a clue where to look. For comfortable interaction, look at the whole face with their eyes in the center of your vision. Control how harsh your gaze is by how intensely you focus on one point. Aim for a soft, warm focus.
Step 2: Steal glances
Make infinitesimally brief eye contact with people on the street. You want to maintain eye contact for just long enough to see the color of their eyes. When people sustain eye contact with you it is important to smile. Genuine smiles come from the eyes.
Step 3: Showing involvement
Make longer eye contact with strangers such as waiters or salespeople. 3 to 5 seconds is enough to show sincere involvement. When you break eye contact (and you always want to be the first to break) look to the side of their face instead of down.
Step 4: Learn to dance
Make substantial more eye contact during conversations with friends, family members, and co-workers. Don’t stare at people awkwardly when they talk to you. Increase the amount of contact you make intermittently.
Effective eye contact is about being aware of the other person’s comfort levels. Eye contact will generally increase tension whereas a smile will decrease it. The goal is not to increase eye contact per se, but to adjust it to the right level for a genuine connection.
Connecting with people is not something you do. It is something you allow. If you are trying to connect with someone the assumption is that you are somehow disconnected. Good communicators direct their efforts to uncover a connection that already exists.
Step 5: Look a stranger in the eye
Make substantially longer eye contact with people you’ve just met. If you’ve worked your way through the last four steps then you’ll be able to calibrate a situation well enough to develop a genuine connection with a complete stranger.
Increasing the amount of eye contact that people who know you are used to is strange at first. As you start to increase eye contact you can compensate by increasing physical proximity to keep things comfortable.
This was a quick summary of a book called: The Power of Eye Contact by Michael Ellsberg. If you’d like to know more about how to use eye contact then check it out.