Reading body language: There are many advantages to studying body language and how others read it. You get to learn where to stand when talking to people, whether to fold your arms or not, what to do during interviews and even what type of eye contact that you should have when interacting with others.
Eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and it really defines what communication is. The is a difficulty for some because there are many subtleties between men and women and then throw in cultural differences to the mix and reading body language of eye contact and you have some confusion.
Men and women prefer different types of contact for different periods of time. If you have too much eye contact it is beyond uncomfortable and on the other side of the coin not enough eye contact and people think that you cannot be trusted. Reading the body language of men and women is entirely different in business and in dating.
Eye contact and business
So you have a new potential client you have been working on for months …
You gather all of the information you need to research the habits and buying trends..
You get all the way to get to give a presentation but it seems weird and it seems that the body language changes of your potential client because you didn’t keep enough eye contact or you didn’t give them enough and it hurts because it costs you…
And you don’t know why or how…
This scenario could play out exactly the same if you were to go on a date and screw it up with too much or not enough nonverbal contact.
Eye contact can define body language
Eye contact can make or break a conversation. Give the right amount and you have interest or buy in for the conversation or the interaction. There is a huge difference between eye contact and what you are looking at. Eye contact is how much you look at the eyes what you are looking at may be the person across the room.
For most people anything more than 70% of interval eye contact is way too much. 70% doesn’t mean look at the person in the eyes for 70% of the time without a break and then 30% look away all at one time. There are some people who do like this much eye contact, it could be a mother and sometimes female superiors. There are some nationalities where 70% eye contact is not enough. There are some nationalities where 40% is too much.
70% eye contact for some becomes very uncomfortable depending upon previous experiences in life. You will see people physically become uncomfortable with too much eye contact. They may pull away from you if they are sitting down, they may shift their body as to block you from looking at them or they may stop talking in the same pace or stop talking at all together. Yes the talking part would be verbal but there are ways to look at physical changes along with vocal changes at the same time.
If it seems that the man or woman has a shift in their body language and shows a reaction because they are uncomfortable it means you should reduce your eye contact.
Different nationalities will have different amounts of eye contact and this can be confusing. If you don’t know for sure start at about 50% and if it seems that there is no reaction to your eye interaction you can increase your eye contact from there.
Body language signs and signals that you may not have enough eye contact:
- · The man or woman keep staring at you
- · They may draw closer in to get your attention
- · They may start to ignore you or leave the conversation
- · They may seem annoyed
- · In the verbal sense they may even ask if something is wrong
Body language signs and signals you may have too much eye contact
- · They may back away from you
- · They may cross their arms or legs
- · They may get fidgety
- · There could be a time where they take a long time to get back to eye contact with you
- · Their eye contact may shift to somewhere beyond you or they may even engaged another object or person
- · Verbally the person may try to change the subject or the pace of their conversation will change
Reading the body language of the triangle of eye contact
Determining where to look to keep good eye contact means that you would understand that from just across the top of the eyebrows to the tip of the nose make up the “triangle of eye contact”. Looking anywhere else for long periods of time can become uncomfortable for the other person. If you have looked to long the person may change their facial expression.
Keeping eye contact is a gesture that is reactive when it comes to understanding and interpreting the body language of others. A correct reaction from you will build comfort for the other person in most instances. An inappropriate amount of eye contact from you will cause discomfort and a negative reaction in the sense of body language
Knowing the right amount of eye contact between people can help you in everything from business life to relationships.
Reading body language exercise
The next time that you have a conversation with someone that know decide if you are going to give too much eye contact or not enough and note what type of reaction their body language has. The reason that you have to do this with someone that you know is because it may cause an altercation with a stranger. You can even do this exercise just sitting across from someone even if they know what is going on and you will get a similar reaction. Just note what types of reactions that the other person has for future use.
As always I would like to thank you in advance for your comments and or questions about eye contact.
Now go implement!
Scott Sylvan Bell
Blue Eye by Danilo Rizzuti, Friendly Smile by Timeless Photography:Photo credit for reading body language of eye contact like an expert.