This week, we continue our blog series on confidence with another crucial aspect of body language: eye contact.
How you meet your speaking partner’s gaze can play a huge role in how he or she perceives you. Failing to make steady eye contact and frequently averting your eyes from the person you are speaking with can give the impression that you are meek or submissive. However, if you stare too intently into another person’s eyes, you can appear overly intense and uncomfortable. Instead, aim for direct eye contact approximately 80% of the time. This equates to briefly shifting your gaze for one second after every four seconds of eye contact. As you look away, look up or to the side rather than down. Looking down is a sign of insecurity. By looking up or sideways, you’ll appear to be thinking about what is being said rather than averting your gaze purposefully.
You can also use eye contact to project confidence when speaking to a group or giving a presentation. When speaking in front of a group, many people will simply gaze above their audience’s heads<> <>or focus on an object in the distance. However, this creates a lack of connection with your audience and gives the impression that you are uneasy. Instead, occasionally make eye contact with individual members of the audience for about three seconds per person. Vary this so that you’re looking at people in different parts of the room, so that the entire group feels as though they’ve connected with you. Every so often, allow your eyes to sweep across the crowd. The combination of individual and group attention will help to create a feeling of intimacy combined with professionalism.
Tune in next week for the final installment in our confidence series and learn how to project strength and leadership like a pro!