Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stare at someone’s eyes in a fixed way to make proper eye contact. In fact, that’s exceedingly creepy. That’s not “eye contact”, that’s just scary STARING.
The good news is that you don’t have to make as much eye contact as you think! In actuality, people make eye contact 80-90% of the time while listening, but only 40-50% of the time while talking!
And a lot of people are very uncomfortable with eye contact. So ironically, by trying to fix the problem, they make it worse! Here are two COMMONLY RECOMMENDED things to AVOID:
DON’T force yourself to make eye contact. That will make you stare and gaze and you’ll look really creepy, stodgy and forced.
DON’T stare at the mouth, especially if you’re close to each other, because (s)he’ll be able to clearly tell. It’s more obvious the closer you guys are standing/sitting from one another.
Now here’s your action plan:
You know the little space between the eyes, right above the nose? I call that the little triangle area. Aim there, because it pretty much looks like normal eye contact. And when you get more comfortable, aim out a bit to the corners of their eyes. Then their colored irises. Finally their pupils.
Don’t think of it as looking at A PERSON. Try to detach yourself by thinking of it as letting your eyes settle on parts of the human body. (i.e., progressing from skin, to pointy little eye corners, to gemlike amber irises, etc.) Though don’t space out TOO much, you still want to listen to what they’re talking about. 😛
And again, you don’t need to actually focus on them 100% of the time. Especially when speaking! So ironically, the more you yap, the less guts it takes, because you only have to look at them half the time! 🙂