The interview you practiced for. A meeting to discuss your perfected proposal. The business presentation you’ve been worrying about. A friendly conversation.
What do all these very different situations have in common? It’s simple: they demand eye contact. Without eye contact, communication is more difficult, potentially awkward, and even uncomfortable for all parties involved.
While it might sound simple, consistent and appropriate eye contact go a long way toward making communication both more natural and successful. Need proof? Check out this informative eye contact guide from the communication experts at Presenting Perfection.
As A Communication Tool
One big reason why eye contact is so important? It helps others understand you.
According to researchers at Michigan State University, eye contact can serve as a secondary conversation, carrying subtle messages and conveying a level of understanding between you and another person.
No matter the conversation, avoiding eye contact can send the wrong message. Others may see you as disinterested, noncommittal, or even untrustworthy.
Simply put, continued, comfortable eye contact is a natural way people show empathy, concern, and mutual understanding while engaged in conversation. Without it, any conversation (even one with a close friend or acquaintance) is missing a degree of connectivity.
But How Much Is Enough?
The key word to remember when making eye contact? Comfort.
While eye contact is indeed a powerful communication tool, there are steps to take to ensure you are making the right eye contact. Researchers have found that eye contact in the form of blank and expressionless staring can have a highly negative impact on conversational comfort. Making this kind of eye contact runs the risk of making others uneasy or even uncomfortable.
The solution? Make sure your eye contact says something. Rather than just locking eyes, respond with non-verbal gestures like nodding to show your understanding. The quality of your eye contact is critical.
And Good For You Too!
The best hidden benefit of increased eye contact? It can help you learn about yourself!
According to the career experts at Business Insider, trying to increase your conversational eye contact can result in realizations about your own communication habits.
For example, you may learn which conversations or situations are triggers for eye contact avoidance. With whom do you find eye contact most difficult? Is eye contact easier or harder for you in a professional environment?
Understanding these individual patterns can often be the first step in improving both eye contact and your communication skills at large. By understanding your eye contact tendencies, you can anticipate potentially disastrous conversations, conquering them with confident eye contact.
Get Help From The Experts
Think your eye contact skills need help? Want to feel more confident in your speaking, presenting, or leadership abilities? Consider reaching out to a friendly communication guru.
With an array of professional preparedness experience, Presenting Perfection founder Kathryn Lancioni has all the tools and techniques to help you improve your communication prowess. From conversational skills to professional interview techniques, Presenting Perfection can help you succeed.
To get started, contact Presenting Perfection today!