Eye Contact in Communication
Have you ever wondered about the role that eye contact has in communication skills?
We all had that moment when we felt a little strange in communicating with our eyes.
We also have had that moment when we could clearly tell when someone else had trouble communicating with their eyes.
So yes, eye contact does play a major role in communication.
It allows someone to build trust, showcase confidence & highlight their listening skills.
Does such a simple act have that much value??
In today’s blog post, I want to get pretty real with you.
I used to SUCK with eye contact.
And I want to share what it was like overcoming that & how your eyes speak VOLUMES in the world of communication.
Just know, that if you suck with eye contact, then it’s not too late.
Eye contact is a skillset.
That means you can learn the fundamentals, practice & get better over time.
Let’s get you started on your journey.
The Life of Shitty Eye Contact
I used to hate eye contact in communication because I felt vulnerable.
I felt as though people were piercing into my soul & judging me.
This sort of belief had me overthinking nonstop.
When you are uncomfortable with eye contact, you tend to blow small things out of proportion.
There was a time when a friend was looking at me as I was telling him a story about my first internship.
And as I was looking at him, I noticed something.
‘What was that?’
He seemed like he was very disappointed in my story.
So when I saw him looking like that, I lost confidence and became deflated in my storytelling.
Needless to say, he wasn’t looking disappointed.
That’s just the narrative my ego assigned me.
He made that same facial expression with anyone that he spoke with.
I was wrong.
I self-sabotaged myself because my difficulty with eye contact made me FEEL physically weak.
The physical sensations took a hold on my mind.
And my mind then proceeded to create a narrative.
That was my life for many years.
Telling a story, losing confidence, blaming the other person & then, blaming myself…
Why Do We Have Trouble with Eye Contact in Communication?
The reason we have a problem with eye contact in communication is due to the awareness eye contact brings:
When someone is looking at our eyes, we feel like they are looking at our ENTIRE body.
Just think about it.
Every time you have had trouble with eye contact, what did you do?
-You probably made your body smaller.
-Kept touching your neck.
-Covered your torso etc.
Those are all subconscious moves you do when you feel vulnerable.
These are the same movements you do when you get on stage to give a speech in front of 500 people.
And surprisingly, these are the same movements you do when you are having a 1 on 1 conversation.
‘Why do I think like this?’
I don’t have an exact explanation for the WHY.
My theory is that the eyes played a major role in terms of survival for our ancient ancestors.
Before words, we communicated with the body.
The eyes play an important role in body language.
Which is why I think we place so much importance on it.
However, understanding the WHAT helps you discover your personal WHY.
The WHAT of why you suck with eye contact is because you feel like your whole body is being exposed.
Now it’s up to you to discover the WHY.
When you begin thinking in ways to answer your own questions, you start reaching creative insights.
Eye Contact Can Represent a Gut Feeling
Before I tell you HOW to improve, I want to tell you something.
Sometimes, the eyes speak subconscious volumes.
You don’t want to ALWAYS rule off poor eye contact as a problem on your end.
There were many times in my life where I would have trouble making eye contact with a particular fellow.
Let’s call him Tom.
I was good at making eye contact with everyone, but Tom.
Something felt a little weird every time I looked at him. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I thought it was my fault.
But over time, I realized that there was something wrong with Tom.
He was apparently a snake, who would always talk shit behind my back when I would leave.
My logical mind didn’t know what was wrong at the time.
But my primal mind knew something was up with Tom.
So the point is, if you are good with eye contact for most people, but struggle with a certain person, then be curious.
Do not be judgmental.
There may be a chance that your subconscious mind is trying to tell you something.
How to Improve Eye Contact in Communication
If you are someone who is trying to improve eye contact in communication, I’ll keep it simple:
Work your way up.
Picture yourself going to the gym for the first time.
You aren’t automatically trying to bench 300 pounds, right?
‘Because if I did, then I would really hurt myself.’
So you start off repping the bar a few times.
Then you throw on some light weights on each side & work on that.
After you successfully hit the lightweights, you move on up.
You gradually worked your way towards 300 pounds.
Same concept with eye contact.
Try to hold longer contact in each interaction.
When you feel very uncomfortable, then take a break to the side & then come back and hold more eye contact.
To aid you in your journey, do a slight squint in the eyes & smile a little.
The light squint makes you seem more understanding to the other party.
The smile gives you an aura of confidence.
- Hold longer eye contact for each session.
2. Squint your eyes.
Keep doing this, and over time, you’ll notice your eye contact muscle has strengthened.
This will allow you to seem more comfortable in social interactions for the future.
The Eyes Chico, They Never Lie
The stronger your eye contact becomes, the more you learn to READ eyes.
You learn that everyone has a different level of comfort.
Some love it when you show them attention with the eyes.
Some love it when you don’t overwhelm them.
Solid eye contact skills have you go from doing to becoming more aware.
At the beginning of your journey, you will maintain strong eye contact with everyone.
But over time, once you built the confidence, you become aware of how to adjust based on the person you’re speaking too.
Remember homie, there are plenty of people who are just getting started on their eye contact journey like you were.
So always maintain that level of awareness.
Over time, you will learn that the eyes are an anchor in communication skills.
You become much more proficient in adjusting and enhancing your socially dynamic nature in interactions.
Great eye contact speaks VOLUMES to your character.
So begin working on this skillset today.
Access where you are, where you want to be & begin.
Your strong eyes will compound over time.