Eye contact is an important way to emotionally connect with your audience of any size. Here are some ideas to help you:
1. Generally speaking, the longer the eye contact between two people, the greater the intimacy is developed. In a business, sales and speech situation, look at members of your audience for a thought, phrase or idea. If you are sitting at a boardroom table, make sure you share eye contact with everyone.
2. Others rarely interrupt two people engaged in a conversation if they have consistent eye contact. Through observing eye contact, others, well at least thoughtful ones, can tell if it is okay to join in the conversation.
3. Pupils also enlarge when people are talking about things that bring them joy or happiness. They often contract when discussing issues that bring them sadness. In a conversation at a networking or social event, I always like to ask questions of interest to my conversation partner. It helps add to their, “I enjoyed meeting that person,” feeling.
4. Eye contact has been shown to be a significant factor in the persuasion process. Practice across the dinner table with your family or friends.
5. The longer your eye contact, the more self-esteem you are perceived to have.
6. The more eye contact you can maintain, the higher self esteem you actually rate yourself on! To be perceived as more likable gives you an edge in business. Eye contact is an important way to build this emotional bond and likeability. Are your eyes clear or are they bloodshot? Business contacts and audience members will notice, and the clearer your eyes the more attractive you will be perceived. If you wear sunglasses, get ready to take them off. People want to see what they are getting. They want to see your eyes.
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE