The best way to leave a lasting impression is to make eye contact. “Secrets to Making Non-Awkward Eye Contact” The Muse – Tools & Skills – 2018 Lily Zhang – Career Development Specialist at MIT. Obviously, this is something we all understand but it’s satisfying to know that the professionals who work in the field also verify our hunches. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus (2007) defines the EYE as an organ of sight, a faculty of discrimination; something having an undeveloped bud or the calm at the center of a cyclone. The definition of CONTACT from this same source is listed as the touching or meeting of bodies where a connection or relationship or communication is formed. Eye contact is important in our everyday life. Dale Carnegie, the world renowned speaker and inspirational guide, suggests that you make eye contact with someone long enough to register what eye color they have before looking away. Somehow this seems instinctual; we do it without thinking about it. Katherine Schreiber and Heather Hausenblas, Ph.,D (Co-authors of The Truth About Exercise Addition) relate in their article posted 9/20/2016 and verified by Psychology Today “What Eye Contact Can Do to You,” that newborns pay more attention to faces with eyes gazing directly at them than to faces with eyes looking off in the distance. Even babies have the inborn desire to scan a human face looking for information. There is also an indication that eye contact is crucial for successful early childhood/parent bonding. This type of eye contact engagement may enhance memory for the child’s decision making process.
Eye contact can have a memory-boosting effect as long as it’s wanted by the person being looked at. So, make eye contact work to your advantage. Sean Cooper (The Shyness & Social Anxiety Guy) viewed 7/15/2018 “How To Make Eye Contact Without Feeling Awkward,” indicates that there is a socially acceptable time frame for maintaining eye contact before the technique becomes staring or inappropriate. So, how long is too long? Sean gives us a guideline for eye contact:
- eye contact with talking – 1/3 of the time
- eye contact with listening – 2/3 of the time
- eye contact with everyday conversation – spurts of 3-4 seconds during the verbal exchange
Since most human contact tends to be non-verbal (a study at UCLA indicated that 93% of communication is not verbal), that means we talk with a combination of body language and eye contact. Wow, what a great opportunity to let another human being know how you’re feeling and what your opinions are about life. Your eyes are your “scouts.” They scan the horizon much like the advance scouts did in the days of the ole’ west when the military was traveling on maneuvers in the hot desert. Processing of the information is the same: gathering, assessing and decision making. It’s just as vital today to make the correct decision with the incoming information that you receive from eye contact. Everyday we all make connection through eye contact so you may want to pay attention to the cues coming from the person you’re looking at: it’s a good idea.