Ways to Be Better at Eye Contact
Eye contact anxiety is a real thing today, and several people in the corporate world suffer from it. The feelings of anxiety interfere with your everyday interactions at work and limit your ability to feel confident in talking to others. By the very same token, you must maintain decent eye contact in social interactions for your point to get through and to make yourself heard.
People who look at others in the eye are perceived as welcoming and friendly. However, several people consciously try to implement this within their personality but cannot get the results they require.
What is Eye Contact Anxiety?
The phrase itself is self-explanatory and considers the discomfort individuals might feel when they directly look at someone in the eyes. A person suffering from eye contact anxiety may find it hard to maintain and sustain eye contact for long durations. If they build up the courage to maintain eye contact, they may feel like they are being scrutinized or judged by others.
People tend to suffer from eye contact anxiety for several reasons. Those who haven’t yet been diagnosed with the mental health condition tend to avoid eye contact due to mental shyness or just a general lack of confidence.
Those without practice and suffering from eye contact anxiety may feel uncomfortable when speaking to someone and looking at them in the eye. A lack of eye contact is also perceived as a lack of confidence and dishonesty in some social circles.
This article, we help you break through the circle of poor eye contact by mentioning some techniques you can follow to improve it. Go through these tips to be better at eye contact and general communication.
Practice While Listening to Others
Most people find it hard to maintain eye contact when they are speaking to the other person. Anxiety kicks in when you realize that you have to look at their expressions and reactions to everything you say to them. If looking at someone in the eye sounds daunting when speaking, you should try doing so when they are talking instead.
It is easier to maintain eye contact when listening because you aren’t explicitly looking for reactions that may or may not validate what you say. Look at them in the right eye for a few seconds before shifting your gaze to their mouth for a split second, then transition to their right eye and look at it for a few seconds. Repeat the motion and don’t let them feel uncomfortable.
Practice with Strangers
Practicing eye contact with strangers can be relatively more straightforward. Why? Because you aren’t trying to impress them!
Walk down the aisle of your local store or visit a crowded street or location. Pass by other people and look at them to pass a smile. Once you maintain eye contact, notice if they smile back. Once they do, you can always stop and say ‘hi’ and make small talk.
Additionally, you can ask strangers for directions, converse with a store clerk and take advantage of whatever opportunity comes your way to become better at eye contact. For starters, imagine that everyone you don’t know has been put on this planet to help you become better at eye contact.
Have Staring Contests
Staring contests might sound childish, but they do help. If you can directly stare someone in the eye for 60 seconds straight, you will find it easier to maintain eye contact during other social interactions.
To make things interesting, try carrying on a conversation while you stare at each other. Do not just stare silently at each other; in fact, try saying something in the process as well. Do this with a child, and you might even get a few laughs out of the process.
Study the Eye Contact Routine of Someone with Great Social Skills
There is no harm in identifying other people who are better at eye contact and taking a leaf out of their book. We all know someone in our social circle that is good at communication and can help us maintain eye contact.
When you are talking to that person, make sure that you comfortably talk to them and use their eyes. Try to see where they look and how long do they take to move their eyes. Notice how natural it feels, as that may help you.
Slowly Increase Eye Contact
Take small steps of progress. Rather than trying to maintain effective eye contact all of a sudden, make sure you ease into it. Start by adding a few seconds of eye contact into your daily conversations, and then slowly work the time up to become more prominent with it. Be easy on yourself and continue making minor improvements.
Look near the Eyes
If you’re conversing with someone from a distance of, let’s say, 3 to 4 meters or more, you can always look near the eyes and not directly into them. Look towards their forehead or in between their eyes, to begin with. This will help give the impression you’re maintaining eye contact without actually triggering your anxiety. However, you may not be able to do so while talking to someone nearby.
Use a Mirror
If you’re starved for people to practice eye contact with, you can always use the mirror and practice it with yourself. Just look at the mirror and stay focused on your ideas. Just make sure you do it in a lovely secluded corner to build your confidence.
Eye contact is a necessary part of non-verbal communication. Good eye contact ensures you are confident and socially astute. Additionally, it helps you come across as more confident and socially competent.