The Eyes Have It
Written by David Pullan
I am sitting in a room with a hundred strangers. The conversation drops. A young woman turns and looks me in the eye.
‘Have you ever wanted to smash your boss’s door down?’
Now I should point out that, a) I was watching a wonderful performance from Warwick University at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. b) No, I’ve never even considered it; it’s my door after all. c) This opening moment made me think a lot about good eye contact.
Despite the confrontational question, this woman held my gaze softly and easily. She exuded confidence and presence. She was grounded in the connection between us as individuals. She made good eye contact.
When I work with clients I often notice that they look ‘in the direction’ of other people, but they rarely look ‘at’ other people.
By looking ‘at’ other people I mean really connecting and looking softly into their eyes so that you notice detail, can appreciate the colour and would be able to describe it to someone else after the event.
Now the key here is softness. Wild staring will make you look like a serial killer. But a soft and interested connection will really bond you to the other person, make them feel listened to, and increase your presence.
Try this over the next week. Look into people’s eyes as if you want to be able to describe them with interest to another person later on.
But don’t smash down your boss’s door.
photo credit: Conrad 2.75" Tall - Mini Bear via photopin