Make eye contact with the other person. People value those who are genuine and can listen to their story. A visual connection helps sustain genuine interest, caring, and attention.
Valentine’s Day has just passed….How many of us remember this simple yet key point when it comes to communicating with others…
The previous three steps—intentions, motivation, and awareness — focus on our inner attitude in relationship; they form the essential building blocks for the foundation of relationships. The next step seems much simpler: we make eye contact with the other person. Although it’s simple, the act of looking another person in the eyes is actually a powerful way of communicating our inner attitude.
Sayings such as “the eye is the window of the soul” reflect our intuitive understanding that the essence of who we are is communicated through the eyes. The Bible says “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). If we put our energy into cultivating positive regard and good intentions for others, our eyes will reflect our sincerity, integrity, and warmth. Almost any guide to communication will advise you to make eye contact, but they often fail to mention the importance of the attitude that lies behind the eyes. Body language is more telling than words, partly because it communicates attitudes that words fail to reveal.
Eye contact also encourages listening. The visual image of the other person’s face can serve as a cue to stay focused on the person and what he or she is saying. People value those who are genuine and can listen to their story. A visual connection helps sustain genuine interest, caring, and attention.
A Wall Street Journal article titled “Just Look Me in the Eyes Already” cites research showing that in an average conversation people make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time; however, the same research maintains that to create a sense of connection, eye contact should be made during 60% to 70% of the conversation. Of course you don’t want to overdo it and stare someone down like some mad hypnotist. Once again, the most reliable guide is your own sincere intention to create a positive connection.
Next time I’ll talk about step five and the role of humor in creating better relationships.
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