Eye-contact is good; too much eye-contact is bad. Direct eye-contact held for more than seven seconds is a form of aggressive behavior.
Sure, in the U.S. we’re all trained to look one another in the eye while communicating. As Americans, however, we also have one of the most aggressive communication styles on the planet.
Remember that if you’re in a job interview, talking to a client, a co-worker, or your boss–if you feel as though 10 seconds or so has passed without breaking contact with eyes, just quickly glance over the other person’s shoulder and then back again. This quick glance-away should be almost undetectable; it should be quick and natural, as most people do while communicating with others. If you make it a point not to break the eye-contact because you want to prove your communication prowess, what you’ll end up doing is simply making the other person feel uncomfortable, and it’s very difficult to accomplish any worth-while communication goal if this is the point from which you start.
Furthermore, are you someone who has been told that you can be a little “intimidating” when you communicate with others?
Then in addition to the break-the-eye-contact rule, remember this as well: If the person looking at you can see the entire iris (the colored part) of your eye for a prolonged period of time, it may be perceived as not just a form of aggressive behavior, but as a sign of psychosis–which it is.
Eye-contact in communication has cultural roots. If you are not from North or South America, take a moment to research what might be YOUR cultural norm. And please leave a comment about it! I would very much appreciate that.
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