The Secret of Eye Contact in Business

If there is one simple thing you can do to enhance your impact as a leader, a speaker and a presenter, it is to persuade others to see things as you see them. Being able to do this effectively will more likely influence your audience to say yes to your idea, buy your product or become your client. Reaping the rewards of assertive eye contact takes a little practice every day.

I would like to share some of my personal experience and research on why leaders, speakers and presenters should look at people, one at a time, when addressing an audience, networking or making an important pitch. Here are 12 reasons:  

  • Focusing your eyes helps you to concentrate. When your eyes wander, they take in random, unrelated images that are sent to your brain, slowing it down.
  • Failing to make eye contact with your listeners makes you look less authoritative, less believable, and less confident.
  • When you refrain from looking people in the eye, they are less likely to look at you in return.  When people stop looking at you, they start thinking about something other than what you're saying, and when that happens, they stop listening.
  • When you look someone in the eye, he or she is more likely respond in kind, listen to you, and more likely to believe and or buy your message.
  • When you look a person in the eye, you communicate self-assurance, confidence and belief in your point of view. 
  • When you use focused eye contact, remember to soften the rest of your facial expression and don't forget to smile when appropriate.  
  • When your listeners see your eyes scanning their faces, they feel invited to engage with you. They feel encouraged to signal to you how they feel about what you're saying--with nods and smiles of encouragement.  
  • Your primary goal as a speaker is to transform your listeners from passive receivers to active participants. You want your monologue to take the form of a dialogue, in which you vocalize your words but enhance them with gestures and facial expressions. 
  • In order to have a successful dialogue with your audience, you must respond to what your listeners are signaling. So, for instance, when you see skepticism, you might say, "I know it seems hard to believe, but I promise you, the investment makes sense, the data proves it." 
  • Finally, when you look someone in the eye for three to five seconds, you will naturally slow down your speech, which will make you sound like an experienced and effective orator who possesses expertise on the topic you are speaking about.
  • Looking into the eyes of others may make you feel as if you are staring at them, but what you are really doing is being assertive and empathetic.  You are asserting your opinion and watching the faces in your audience to gauge their response.
  • With practice, you will master using eye contact as an important skill that will serve you well in all areas of your business and personal life.

Numerous studies have shown that people who make higher-levels of eye contact with others are perceived as being: more dominant and powerful, more warm and personable, more attractive and likeable, more qualified, skilled, competent, and valuable, more trustworthy, honest, and sincere, more confident and emotionally stable. That is a long list of advantages that every leader can benefit from.

Not only does increased eye contact make you seem more appealing in a way to those you interact with, it also improves the quality of that interaction. Eye contact imparts a sense of intimacy to your exchanges, and leaves the receiver of your gaze feeling more positive and energized about your interaction and connection with you. Contact Jennifer Grant to attend a seminar on Body Language and Communication, we can help you perfect your speaker's gaze and dazzle. 

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