Eye Contact | How to Use it to Improve Your Life

June 09, 2015 5 Minutes

Eye Contact | Look a Man in the Eye

Have you ever noticed that during most conversations you have with people, rarely do you and the other person maintain eye contact for the duration of the conversation? And when you do make eye contact for longer than a few seconds, you feel some discomfort and quickly divert your eyes. 

Good eye contact is a skill all gentleman should have. In fact it shouldn't even be a skill, but simply standard practice, but in this day and age, with the declining calibre of young men and an increase in disconnecting social media and technology, it's a rarity. Now I'm of course talking about during conversations, but even in every day, general transactions. Last week I was at a gas station in Los Angeles. The man in front of me, a slob of a man, would not only not look the cashier in the eye when collecting his receipt, but was so rude, that he was staring face down into his phone, with one arm outstretched to collect his receipt, to which the cashier had to navigate to get him to grab it. Then he slowly walked off, head literally in phone. I looked at that man in disgust and made extra effort to be courteous to the cashier, who frankly, didn't seem to bothered, indicating this wasn't a rare occurrence. This behavior needs to cease.

So today, we'll be talking about the benefits of good eye contact, and how to become a man who can hold a gaze, as I believe it's a skill all men should be well versed in. 

Good eye contact hosts a myriad of benefits

  • allows you to access all the non verbal communication derived from another persons eyes 
  • you appear and feel more powerful and in control
  • you appear to be more trustworthy and genuine
  • you become more attractive, immediately

The big thing here, is that good eye contact helps transmit familiarity and closeness  to the other person, obviously great for attracting a partner, or in business dealings. 

The Language of our Eyes

Our eyes contain a language among themselves. A quick glance at someones eyes can tell us if they are angry, sleepy, gentle, manical, dodgy, loving, energetic, on drugs... the eyes don't lie. This is why eyes are such an important element in the world of screen acting. If the thoughts are not going on in the actors mind, the camera (and audience) will catch it through the eyes. They are the window to our soul, and mind. Physical attention is another key factor in eye contact. With the rise of technology and social media, people are missing traditional face to face contact, and having someone listen intently to what you have to say. Eye contact to the speaker indicates you are in fact listening to them speak, and more than that, that you are actually interested in hearing what they have to say. Too often our eyes are darting around the room looking for stimulation or down on our iPhones seeing how many likes our latest selfie got on Instagram. If you want to stand out and be unique, just look a person in the eye when they're talking to you!

Mirror Neurons is a fascinating facet in our chemistry. The same neurons are ignited by a person simply observing another person doing something, as when doing the thing yourself. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a person who was extremely upset, and found yourself feeling the same emotion? Or have you ever gone to see Tony Robbins and made eye contact with him - pretty sure that gets you pretty pumped and excited! If you want to get a feeling across to someone, transmit it through eye contact.

Honesty is another big factor here, as those seeking to hide something with commonly refrain from solid eye contact, it's just in our genes. The same goes for being insecure. So if you want to project yourself as a confident, honest man, make eye contact. 


Tips on Becoming Better with Eye Contact

1. Lean Back: If you're new and don't want to come across as a staring creep, lean back slightly when making eye contact. This relaxes the situation and gives a little bit of extra comfort to your companion. If it's someone you're far more comfortable with, you can lean in as your confidence grows.

2. Pick an Eye: Be careful not to flick your gaze from one eyeball to another too frequently. It's distracting and show's you're not really focused. 

3. Don't be Crazy: Basically, don't stare down your companion without blinking or breaking gaze, you don't want them thinking you're Hannibal Lector. Make sure it's appropriate. Your eye contact has to be welcome, so start slow, and judge your receivers' comfort. 


So if you want to get better at making eye contact with people, work your way up. Start with strangers and new acquaintances, even people on the street. Look them in the eye and say hello, or just look them in the eye and smile, for a second or two longer than you normally would. You'd be surprised at how quickly it becomes comfortable, and how empowered you feel when you're able to hold someones gaze, but they look away. Also, if you want to display power, be sure to exhibit more eye contact when you're speaking, and less when you're not. 

Finally, if you want to use eye contact to show dominance and power over someone who needs to be put in their place, then it's okay to administer the stare down, commonly used by fighters at the weigh in and before a bout. Don't be the first to look away, even if you have to distract your mind with a totally random thought. Hold the gaze longer, and you're expressing your dominance and power over your opponent. This can help you get out of trouble also, as Eddie Murphy once said "acting like you can fight, gets you out of a lot of fights!" - The same rule applies here. 

In the case of women, being the last to look away is especially important here. If you're at a bar, and your eyes meet those of a lady (whom you're keen on), don't be the first to break. A strong and confident man is attractive to women, not a shy and insecure one. You can also make educated guesses on her thoughts by her actions after eye contact. For example, if he looks down and back at you within a minute, you're in and you should take the next step and talk to her. Conversely if she looks to the side, you're 50/50, and if she breaks her gaze by looking up, throw in the towel.

Good Luck out there!

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