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How To Make Engaging Eye Contact For A Great First Impression

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How To Make Engaging Eye Contact For A Great First Impression

We look at people every single day, but we don’t always realize how important eye contact really is. We don’t realize all that can be gathered about a person by just engaging in eye contact. Unfortunately for shy people, they are at a disadvantage because they usually have difficulty holding eye contact.

For example, when you are in the middle of a job interview or you are on a date, you want to keep your focus on the person you are trying to impress. I’m sure that you’ve heard before that first impressions are everything. Although I do not agree with that statement entirely, I do think it definitely holds some truth. Imagine being on a date with someone, you’re trying to have a conversation with them, and they are looking at everything going on around them instead of paying attention to you. You’d feel pretty ignored, right? You’d feel as if the person you’re talking to is totally disinterested in what you have to say. It’s an awful feeling, even if they aren’t doing it intentionally.

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I’m talking about practicing engaging eye contact well enough so that you appear to be totally engaged, even if you aren’t. It all boils down to respect, appreciation, understanding and interest in what the other person is saying. If you’re one of those shy people who really struggles with keeping eye contact, or you’re someone who just wants some tips and techniques, we’ll teach you how to make eye contact.

4 clever tricks to make eye contact

1. Imaginary Inverted Triangle

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Portrait of handsome businessman looking at camera

    Some people find it very awkward to stare into someone else’s eyes, so here’s a little trick to help with that. Draw an imaginary triangle on the person’s face around their mouth and eyes. While holding a conversation with someone, change your gaze to another point on the triangle. This will give off the impression that you’re interested in the conversation. Sounds a little silly but it works! Give it try.

    2. Practice without leaving your couch

    Probably the easiest way for anyone to do anything, ever. I mean, you don’t even need to leave your couch. This works really well for those who are shy and aren’t ready to practice on real people just yet. I always like to recommend that taking notice of a person’s eye color is a good place to start. Especially since down the road you want to be able to have reached a point where you can look someone in the eyes and not feel uncomfortable and awkward.

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    When you’re watching a TV show or a movie, every time a new character comes on the screen up close take notice of the color of their eyes, hair, etc. Eventually when you’ve felt like you’ve had enough practice, noticing these things on real people and making eye contact with them will come naturally.

    3. Take notice of their other features

    I’ll be honest, it can be extremely intimidating when looking into a person’s eyes, especially if they’re someone of authority. I have always struggled with eye contact myself. It makes me nervous. I have found that it helps to pay close attention to their features. I take notice of freckles on their face, the color of their hair, the way their mouth moves, etc. Although you aren’t looking directly into their eyes, you’re looking in that general region so you avoid giving off the impression that you aren’t paying attention to them.

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    4. Focus on one eye at a time

    In reality, you can’t actually look at two eyes at the same time. If you try, you end up looking very laser-like. Subconsciously you most likely already have one eye, whether it be the left or right, that you typically focus on. However, it’s still recommended that you switch looking from one eye to another while having a conversation. Truthfully, it looks much more natural and shows more attention and interest.

    As a general rule, direct eye contact ranging from 30% to 60% of the time during a conversation – more when you are listening, less when you are speaking – should make for a comfortable productive atmosphere.

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    As with anything, practice makes perfect and over time you’ll become much more comfortable with maintaining eye contact with someone. It’s not just about how to make eye contact with someone, it’s what you do once you have.

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    Erica Wagner

    Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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