1. Make eye contact before you start talking
Before you utter your first word, make eye contact. When the contact is established, you can start talking face-to-face.
2. Hold your gaze for 4 to 5 seconds at a time
Not sure how long you should hold another person’s gaze or how much eye contact to make? Try looking into people’s eyes for four to five seconds at a time.
Instead of looking down when you break eye contact, look to the side. Then, you can resume eye contact.
3. Use gestures
Do you ever feel uncomfortable and want to break eye contact? Instead of just looking away, try using gestures and body language.
You can nod, use your hands, or use other gestures that you usually make during a conversation.
This will look more natural than just looking away.
4. Move your eyes slowly
Avoid looking away too quickly when you break eye contact. This can make you seem nervous.
Instead, look away slowly.
5. Maintain eye contact 50% of the time
When you’re having a discussion with someone, use the 50/70 rule. This means you should hold eye contact between 50%–70% of the time.
Maintain this amount of eye contact both while you are talking and while you are listening.
Use the triangle technique. Rather than looking away or looking down (as this shows a lack of confidence), you can also look at another spot on their face. Imagine an inverted triangle connecting their eyes and mouth. Every five seconds, rotate which point of the triangle you are looking at.
Look near the eyes. If looking someone directly in the eyes is too stressful, instead look at a spot on their nose, mouth, or chin.
Choose a focal point near the eyes. Most commonly, this is one of the other person’s eyes, but if you are uncomfortable you can look between their eyes, just under or above the eye, or at the earlobe.
Make gentle eye-contact. Think of how you would look at a painting or great view — you are not focusing intently on their eye but instead looking at them gently. Hold your eyes in this position and resist darting them around. Relax your gaze by breathing slowly as you make eye-contact and nodding occasionally while you listen.
Make “whole-face contact” to make your eye’s feel more natural. Smile and nod along to the conversation, rotating your gaze though both eyes, the person’s nose, and mouth. When talking, don’t feel like you have to make eye-contact the entire time– change your expression or look away to keep the other person’s interest.[
Practice with a TV, web-camera, or mirror. If you struggle with real people, you can practice with a screen or mirror. Try to make eye-contact with every character you can on TV or video blogs. News channels, where the anchor looks right at the camera, are a great way to practice comfortably in your home.
Know when good eye-contact is essential.Making eye-contact is a sign of trust, reliability, and openness, and helps in a variety of social settings. However, there are some settings when it is vital for success:
- Job Interviews: Good eye-contact tells a boss that they can trust you. Be sure to look them in eyes while you talk, as it assures them that you know what you’re talking about.
- Dates: Eye-contact can help you make an intimate connection, but it can be difficult to look away in a one-on-one setting. Hold your gaze longer than usual to show your attraction.
- Arguments: Strong eye-contact is a mark of assertiveness and power. Hold your opponent’s gaze for longer periods of time so you do not appear weak or unsure of yourself.
For Public Speaking
Look slightly above the crowd. You will never be able to make eye-contact with every person in a large group, so don’t even try! Aim your eyes 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) above the heads of the group without focusing on one particular person.
If you are at a podium or raised above the crowd, aim for the middle of the crowd without focusing on one particular person.
Shift your gaze every every few sentences.You do not want to look straight ahead the entire time you are speaking. Every so often, turn your head a different direction. Try to look at every section of the crowd once or twice so that the whole audience feels like they have your attention.
Alternatively, choose 4-5 people to look at.This works best if you know several people in the crowd and feel comfortable speaking to them, like a classroom presentation. Simply rotate your gaze from one to the other every 10-15 seconds.
Rotate your gaze from person to person in small groups. If you keep eye-contact on one person the entire time the rest of the group may become disinterested or feel left out. As you speak, look in each person’s eyes for 5-10 seconds before moving slowly to another person.
- This works best with groups of 3-5 people.
Slowly switch between eyes.
When talking to someone, have you ever tried to look into both eyes at once? It’s pretty challenging to do it and not look angry, overly intense, or downright creepy.
Instead, try looking at one eye at a time and then slowly looking at the other. Switching from one to the other casually maintains the connection and interest. If you change too rapidly or often, it might appear that you’re ping-ponging between them, so remember to move slowly and naturally.
How to Break Eye Contact Non-Awkwardly
You can break eye contact naturally by incorporating different methods. Instead of quickly looking away, which can feel awkward, use your body language and hand gestures to look more natural. Try nodding, placing a hand on your heart or your conversation partner’s hand, clasping your hands together, or laughing (if appropriate).
When you break eye contact, the direction of your glance is important. If you look down, it may signal you’re feeling insecure, embarrassed, anxious, or even disingenuous.
When you want to connect with your crush
When you’re attracted to someone (or they are attracted to you), you’ll subconsciously try to engage in lots of mutual eye contact. You’ll do it because you’re interested in them and what they’re saying.
If you’re checking out a stranger from across the room, look to see if he/she looks back. Don’t give up at once glance, but look two, three, or even four times. Once you have caught their eye, gaze and smile back warmly (but not creepily!).
In one study of 48 unacquainted singles, pairs who gazed into each other’s eyes reported significantly higher feelings of affection. This means that just by making eye contact, you can increase your chances of a love match.