Eye Contact–Make it and keep it! Not only does focused eye contact display confidence on your part, it also helps you understand what the other person is really saying verbally.
When the eyes say one thing, and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Looking someone in the eye as you meet and talk with him/her also shows you are paying attention. Listening is the most important human relations skill, and good eye contact plays a large part in conveying our interest in others.
When to look Begin as soon as you engage someone in a conversation. However, you may wish to start even earlier if you are trying to get someone’s attention. Continue it throughout the conversation. Be sure to maintain direct eye contact as you are saying “good-bye.” It will help leave a positive, powerful lasting impression.
Where to look
Imagine an inverted triangle in your face with the base of it just above your eyes. The other two sides descend from it and come to a point between your nose and your lips. That’s the suggested area to “look at” during business conversations. Socially, the point of the triangle drops to include the chin and neck areas. When people look you “up and down,” it’s probably more than business or a casual social situation they have in mind!
How long to look
About 80 – 90 percent of the time. Less than that can be interpreted as discomfort, evasiveness, lack of confidence or boredom. When you stare longer, it can be construed as being too direct, dominant or forceful and make the other person uncomfortable. It’s okay to glance down occasionally as long as your gaze returns quickly to the other person. Avoid looking over the other person’s shoulders as if you were seeking out someone more interesting to talk with.