From Martin Luther King Jnr. to Barack Obama, virtually all the world’s greatest orators had one thing in common. It’s that they all understood the importance of eye contact in communication.
Now, at the sight of the first few sentences, you’re probably questioning the importance of this tiny thing to you. To help set you on the right path, I’ll have you know that you don’t necessarily need to be a public speaker for eye contact in communication to matter to you. You might not be the US president, and you might not even lead an entire race towards equality. However, you will still need to communicate with people.
As such, it is imperative that you are able to maintain eye contact while talking. This seemingly tiny act is so important that it could have multiple effects on your business and even your relationships. How? Well, let’s take a look at the importance of eye contact in communication.
It projects confidence
When speaking to a potential employer, customer, investor, or even an equal colleague, confidence is everything. Confidence is the attribute that shows that you know what you’re doing. It creates less doubt in people about you because they can clearly see that you’re not just a blind man stumbling in the dark.
If you are able to maintain eye contact while talking to a person, it goes a long way to show that you have this coveted attribute. They’ll be more inclined to believe what you’re saying because unlike the average timid Joe who can’t bear to look someone in the eye, you can.
It detects dishonesty
The eyes, they say, are the windows to the soul. Usually, when a person is lying, their body gives it away. The palms get sweaty, their body could become a little more shaky than usual, and, most importantly, they’ll become unable to maintain eye contact. While these traits could almost certainly also mean the person is nervous, an inability to maintain eye contact is also a strong indicator of dishonesty.
So, if you’re trying to get to the bottom of a situation and you find the other party constantly avoiding your eyes, you should take their words with a grain of salt.
It grabs your audience’s attention
Despite all our intelligence, the attention span of the average human is quite low. Most people cannot concentrate on one thing for a particularly long time. It becomes a lot worse when the object that’s supposed to be catching their attention doesn’t seem to be able to do so.
For this reason, if you must keep your audience’s attention, you should look them in the eye. It will prompt them to ignore other distractions and focus solely on you. This is very important when you’re making a great point at work.
Beyond the points mentioned here, the importance of eye contact in communication cannot be overemphasized. A few honorable mentions include deepened attraction, a higher sense of awareness, and reduced resistance to persuasion. Considering all these, it is only logical that you begin looking into people’s eyes move when you talk to them.