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How to Make Effective Eye Contact

Making greater eye contact with others can increase the quality of all of your face-to-face interactions. – Brett and Kate McKay, The Art of Manliness

Making eye contact is a powerful social gesture connecting people in a blink of the eye (pun intended). When you make eye contact with people, you not only connect and bond, but you also show respect and attention, build trust and honesty, leaving a lasting impression.

When you meet and greet people, the easy way to communicate and interact with the other person is to make direct eye contact. It’s a signal of acknowledging your interlocutor that you are ready to have a conversation.
Maintain eye contact during the conversation to show that you are focused and you are listening to the other person. If you engage in a long conversation and you want to show your partner that you are interested in the topic, make sure you make eye contact repeatedly and focus on his or her face, without looking around the room or over the shoulders.

But remember, constant eye contact can be intimidating and the other person may feel uncomfortable, even threatened. If that happens, focus your eyes between your interlocutor’s eyebrows, look away for a few seconds before looking back into his eyes.

If you appear to be constantly looking around the room like searching for somebody, then you appear disinterested and disconnected. It is a clear signal that you are bored and your partner will feel dismissed.

Tips on making effective eye contact

Making eye contact can be intimidating and feel uncomfortable for some people but is critical in any conversation.

Practice – if you are the one who is shy and afraid of looking into someone’s eyes than you should practice beginning with people who you feel comfortable with and gradually move on to neighbors, salespeople, or with waitresses while ordering a meal.

Accompany eye contact with other elements – positive body language that shows you are genuinely interested and involved in a conversation:

  • Smiling and nodding
  • Keeping a natural face expression
  • Standing up straight
  • Leaning forward slightly
  • Facing toward your interlocutor

Mastering the art of making eye contact helps you become more confident and in control while having a conversation. That can have a significant impact on how others perceive you as a sincere and respectful person who cares and pay attention to what the person is saying.

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