Eye contact is one of the most underrated and under-used tools that every person has the ability to leverage. Using it correctly can enhance both your personal and working life. In some Eastern cultures, such as Japan, eye contact can be seen as rude, however in Western cultures like the United States it is seen as a demonstration of both reverence and power. Although those who are shy may have a harder time maintaining eye contact with those in authority such as a boss, supervisor, or professor, learning to do so can have significant benefits.
Maintaining eye contact with an authority figure such as a boss can be taken as a sign of respect. It demonstrates that you see the person as important and think highly of them. When it comes time for promotions, you can be sure to stand out as someone who can keep eye contact.
Demonstrate Your Confidence
You will exude confidence if you can keep eye contact with someone during a conversation, no matter what the topic or situation. You can impress anyone with this self-confidence by being able to look into his or her eyes comfortably. Additionally, a study done by UC Berkeley found those who are confident around their boss and co-workers get promoted quicker.
Forge Close Relationships
Easily maintaining eye contact is a sign that you are comfortable with the person you are looking at. It is also a way to force feelings of comfort and speed-up the process of companionship. This is because, as the old saying goes, “eyes are the window to the soul.” Many people go about their day with a mask and armor on and avoid being their true selves for one reason or another. But there’s something about the eyes that are left naked, no matter how much a person has their guard up. When you look into someone’s eyes, you can bypass that armor and mask and see the person for who they are. That ability strips away at formal behavior and fake laughter and creates long lasting friendships.
Show that You Care
Lack of eye contact can be perceived as a lack of interest. Not only that, but people will have a hard time trusting you when you can’t keep their gaze. When you’re able to look at someone warmly and consistently; it is more likely that they feel they can confide and trust in you, and that you care about what they have to say. This is advantageous when you’re speaking to a client, as you will come off as genuine, and not necessarily trying to get something from them.
Give Meaning to Your Words
Meaningful sentiments are thrown around all the time without the emphasis of meaning behind them, which dilutes their power. For instance, thanking someone can easily come off as aloof when no meaning is behind the words. To negate this, using the eyes as a potent message-conveyor is key. Looking someone in the eyes and genuinely thanking them can convey so much more, especially with the right look of appreciation.
See Also: How to Use Body Language
Maintaining eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean to stare, unblinking at someone, as this is off-putting. However, intentional eye contact with just enough eye movement and blinking can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Keep it in mind next time you’re hoping to get noticed by your boss or by someone you admire.
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