Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Look into my eyes

I frequently tell the boys (some more than others) to look at me when we are talking. So I was delighted to read recently about research regarding the importance of looking at people in the eyes. Not doing so sends negative messages, which, depending on the context, can imply you are untrustworthy, unknowledgeable, nervous or worst. Ideal time to hold people's gaze is 8 to 10 seconds in a one-to-one setting and 3 to 5 in a group setting. Be careful about looking at people in the eyes for too long: anything beyond 10 seconds can come across as creepy or agressive.

The boys mentioned looking at people in the eyes is difficult in some contexts such as cars. I agreed, particularly for the driver. Yet a passenger looking out the window or down at a book is sending a negative signal - as opposed to one looking in the direction of the speaker...

Somewhat related topic: I hate meetings that combine people in a room with people on a speakerphone. Those in the room end up looking at the speakerphone, which creates a poor meeting dynamic. If some people can't make it in person I prefer for everyone to be on the phone. That way nobody needs to stare at a speakerphone!

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