After standing up straight, eye contact is the most important piece of non-verbal communication.
Imagine a man with an intimidating build and superb posture entering the room you’re currently in. He slowly walks up to you, asks a question, and engages you in conversation. But he’s unable to maintain eye contact for more than two or three seconds. When he entered the room and moved to approach you, you undoubtedly felt his masculine presence and a strong sense of confidence. However, as soon as you met him face to face and began speaking with him, your perception of him quickly changed. He was no longer a badass alpha male, but rather just another insecure man.
While that example was rather obvious and extreme, eye contact plays a huge role in your everyday life. It affects how you feel during any given interaction, and it affects how everyone else perceives you. Without being able to skillfully maintain—and break—eye contact, it doesn’t matter how straight you stand up or how thick your back is—you’ll still fail to create a powerful presence.
The Perfect Dose
Good eye contact signals confidence and builds comfort. It says I’m comfortable looking into your eyes and speaking with you.
Bad eye contact signals weakness and breaks rapport. It says I’m a nervous little bitch.
But good eye contact is more complicated than staring at someone like you’re playing that game where the first person who blinks loses. When you practice this type of eye contact it comes off as creepy, like you’re a serial killer or child molester. It makes the other person think you’re trying to intimidate them or just socially unaware.
By the same token, failing to meet the other person’s glance, or immediately looking away when eye contact is made, is also terrible. This is more common. It signals a lack of confidence and shows that you’re nervous or intimidated by the person you’re speaking with.
The secret to mastering eye contact is to maintain it for slightly longer than the other person can. This shows confidence, but also social intelligence. It says I’m in charge of this conversation, but I’m not trying to creep you out.
How To Break It
The second piece to mastering eye contact is knowing how to break it. This is pretty simple: when you break eye contact, look away to the sides of the person you’re speaking with, as if you’re thinking or picturing something in your head. Don’t look down – this shows weakness and submission.
These rules should be applied to any situation. When you’re talking to your boss, firm eye contact lets him know you’re not his little puppy and should be taken seriously. When you’re talking to your inferior, it acknowledges their presence, but also demands respect. When you’re talking to a cute girl you mean to bed, it builds comfort, but also leads the interaction to ever-increasingly seductive and intense eye contact. In short, it’s an unavoidable part of any interaction, and you’d be stupid not to consciously master it and use it to your advantage.
Check out my new Amazon bestseller The Book of Alpha for more advice on building confidence and improving your success.
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