How to maintain eye contact when speaking to someone
To maintain eye contact when speaking to someone is considered the basis of decent etiquette in the Western world while in some traditional African and Asian societies it is held to be the height of bad manners. Generally speaking if you look a person in the eye while talking to them it probably means that you respect and regard them and also have nothing to hide from them. Eye contact shows confidence and friendliness and it is also polite. In fact it feels good to have eye contact with a person while walking down a street and smiling at them. So if you have problems in this area or you are just shy then the following tips may help you get over this block.
A few suggestions
- If you are naturally shy or you end up looking at the ground when holding a conversation then the first thing to do is to loosen up. Forget yourself and the big thing you have made in your mind about eye contact.
- Self consciousness will have a snow balling effect on your psyche. The more you dread it the more difficult it will become. So try and relax, take a few deep breaths.
- You could try doing this over extended periods of time with some one in the family with whom you are totally comfortable or you could practice it in front of the mirror to begin with and then graduate to speaking to a person.
- Remember that not looking people in the eye gives other people the impression that you are shifty eyed and hence not to be trusted.
- People who have nothing to hide and nothing to be afraid of are clear eyed and have no problems in looking at others while talking. Think about the wrong signals that you are bound to send when you do not maintain eye contact.
- When speaking to a person pay emphasis to what the person is talking about and you will find that maintaining eye contact becomes secondary and before you know it, becomes second nature.
- Don’t over do it. If you try too hard then you might end up doing more damage than good because you will have psyched yourself into a position where you will be afraid to even speak to yourself.