Eye contact may seem like a natural behavior that needs no instruction. But the way in which you make eye contact while communicating can have a significant impact on how others perceive you. Take a look at our three tips below for using eye contact to come across as an approachable, confident professional.
- One of the trickiest parts about effective eye contact is deciding how long to hold it. Maintaining eye contact for too long can feel aggressive and make your conversation partner uncomfortable. Not making enough eye contact will make you appear nervous or disinterested. In order to appear confident, engaged, and approachable, maintain eye contact throughout a conversation, but every few sentences, shift your gaze for about second before resuming eye contact. You can also shift your gaze from one of the speaker’s eye to the other in order to avoid looking as though you are staring too intensely.
- When breaking eye contact, be mindful of where you look; the direction of your gaze can impact the way your listener perceives you. Looking downward typically conveys a lack of confidence or disinterest in the conversation. Looking upward can make you appear thoughtful, but can also be slightly distracting. Looking to the side is usually your best bet; this breaks the intensity of extended eye contact, but in a way that is so subtle, your listener will likely not even notice.
- When giving a presentation, use eye contact to your advantage to engage the entire audience. It’s common for people to make eye contact with only the listeners in the front of the group or to make repeated eye contact with someone they know and are comfortable with. People are much more likely to maintain interest and remember the message if the speaker makes direct eye contact. Throughout your presentation, make eye contact with individual members of the audience for 3-5 each, varying the sections of the audience that you are looking at in order to draw in the entire group.
Do you want to take your professional communication to the next level? You may benefit from the services of a corporate speech-language pathologist! For information on the New York Based Speech and Accent Reduction services offered by Corporate Speech Solutions please give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Not in NYC? No problem! We also provide Skype and video conferencing services.
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