Do You Make Eye Contact?

Do You Make Eye Contact?

Adults make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time in an average conversation, according to Quantified Communications, but we should be making eye contact 60% to 70% for a sense of emotional connection.

If you want to show respect and self-confidence, make eye contact. One study by Image and Vision Computing showed that high status people tend to look longer at people they’re talking to.

How long should you hold eye contact?  7 to 10 seconds in a face-to-face chat with one person and for 3 to 5 seconds in a group says one communication consultant.  If you don’t make eye contact you will be judged “untrustworthy, unknowledgeable and nervous,” the researcher said.  And, of course, you need to try to make eye contact with all members of a small audience if you are giving a presentation.

 How much eye contact do you make when you speak?  Tape yourself.  Do you often look away? When people are uncertain, they look away. Do you look at your cell phone or notes during meetings? Do you avoid social gatherings because you feel awkward making eye contact?

You may be a product of your culture. Does your culture consider eye contact rude? Asians are more likely than Westerners to think so.  A study in one scientific journal regards a person who makes too much eye contact as angry or unapproachable. But, even with Americans, and especially at work, eye contact for more than 10 seconds can seem intimidating. If you are in love, you will likely gaze into your beloved’s eyes unceasingly.  But, staring can be troublesome.  A study published this year in Applied Neuropsychology found that adults who gazed intently into participants’ eyes while administering a test unnerved them so much that their working-memory performance was impaired.

If you only remember one thing, remember this: Good eye contact makes you appear confident and it’ll make you more money.  How?  Well, I was consulting with a small restaurant chain on customer service and told the wait staff of all locations that, if they made eye contact with their customers, they’d get bigger tips.  So, we had a contest among locations to see which location had more customers with blue eyes.  The wait staff noted the eye colors of all customers. They reported bigger tips!  Make eye contact!
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