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How do I make eye contact while talking?

How do I make eye contact while talking?
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How do I make eye contact while talking? Since the last few months, I am unable to maintain eye contact with people while talking to them.

If you want to be taken seriously, it is a must to establish an eye contact with the person you are talking to. Relax and concentrate on what the person is saying. Look at the forehead and stay confident

Since the last few months, I am unable to maintain eye contact with people while talking to them. I feel intimidated. I feel like they are judging me. Sometimes I avoid people just because I am unable to make an eye contact with them. However, I don’t have any problem with talking to the same person through phone. I am unable to deal with this issue. Please help.

- Keshavtripathi,

Ibrahimpatnam.

“Though we have technology for communication, nothing can replace that eye contact in building trust in relationships”.

It is important to make eye contact with people to build trust and is also essential while conversing, especially if you want to be taken seriously.

Causes for avoiding eye contact: Our eyes act like mirror and often reflect our emotions, feelings and related thoughts. We feel so vulnerable. Hence, we avoid eye contact when we don’t want people to take a closer look at us and see more of who we are. This inhibition can be rooted in several causes:

Anxiety: People with anxiety issues may not make eye contact with you. People with social anxiety in particular are less likely to look you in the eyes. This form of anxiety makes people fearful to communicate and interact with others for fear of embarrassment.

Low self-esteem: People may avoid eye contact with you due to low self-esteem. They may not feel assured enough to sustain long periods of eye contact.

Masking emotions: There are times when you’re not trying to disguise a lie outright, but simply wish to conceal your true feelings from others, such as when you do not think your reaction to something will be received favorably by them.

Insecurity: Finally, one of the most common reasons that people avoid eye contact is from simple insecurity. Eye contact invites more interaction and you might not want people to take a closer look at you because of how you feel about yourself.

Many times, the common cause in avoiding eye contact is the fear of rejection. This fear may originate from difference in economic or social status, insecurity or lack of confidence about physical appearance, state of mind etc.

A study was done where college students were shown faces which looked at the participants with different kinds of gazes—averted or direct. The students then ranked the faces on whether they seemed approachable or avoidable. Then a survey was given to the participants that evaluated their mental health. The students who ranked the faces that had a direct gaze as approachable were found to be more emotionally stable than those who found the direct gaze faces avoidable. Another study specifically showed that people who suffer from depression—which can do a number on a person’s self-confidence–are less likely to make eye contact with people.

How to improve

eye contact:

1. Relax: As with anything else, the more you think about it, the more self-conscious you'll become.

2. Look for longer time: Look into the person's eyes and hold the gaze for a bit longer than is socially comfortable. At that point you will know that you have made eye contact.

3. Avoid staring. Just look directly into the person's eye in a relaxed manner. Remind yourself that you are hoping to have a pleasant conversation with this person -- there's no need to be anxious.

4. Always listen: Focus completely on what that person is saying. Don’t worry about making eye contact correctly. If you are truly listening, you will just naturally focus your eyes on his/her eyes.

5. Smile with your eyes. Smiling with your eyes generates a more relaxed feel which is needed for a nice casual conversation.

6. Talking to a group: keep direct contact with the listeners. Don’t make eye contact with only one person. Focus on different member with every new sentence or sub topic.

7. Talking to individual: Break eye contact every five seconds or so. When breaking the eye contact don’t look down as this might indicate the ending of your part of the conversation. Instead, look up or to the side as if your are trying to recall something.

8. Listening to some one: The technique I use when I am counseling someone is to use what I call ‘The triangle’. This is when I look at one eye for about five seconds, look at the other eye for five seconds and then look at the mouth for five seconds and keep on rotating in this way. Occasional agreement words like hmm, ok…. etc. will keep speaker talking as he/she feel that you are listening and you are interested in it.

Tips:

l Don’t stare. It is considered as an offensive way in communication. Learn to express.

l If you feel uncomfortable making eye contact with others, try looking at their forehead, because the eyes are very close to forehead.

l Be confident! The more you believe in yourself, the easier you will find it to practice eye-contact.

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