The Importance of Eye Contact

The way you look at others says a lot. Eye contact is one of the most effective ways to acknowledge someone’s presence.  (When adding a smile to it, eye contact may even be interpreted as “I will be with you in a moment.”)

Some people are not good at making eye contact. When eye contact is NOT made, it can be perceived as being disinterested in the other person. The lack of eye contact may be due to being self-conscious. When eye contact is not made, it may also be perceived as a sign of dishonesty. Studies have shown that people who do not tell the truth actually make eye contact approximately one-third less than individuals who tell the truth.

As you were growing up, you may have been told, “It’s not polite to stare.”Sometimes it is inappropriate to look at others for a prolonged period of time. In other instances, it may be useful-and perhaps even a compliment to look at another person for a prolonged period of time.

Also, the appropriateness of eye contact certainly varies from culture to culture. In some countries, making eye contact for more than a few seconds may actually be perceived as rude.

Therefore, we can use the “Safety Zone” gaze as a way to keep good eye contact while preventing a “stare” when looking too long into someone’s eyes. We always want someone to feel comfortable with us, and acknowledged. The trick is to keep talking while changing your vision to the space between their eyes, as a means of resting our eyes, yet never having that person think we ever took our eyes away from theirs.  It is important to keep good eye contact for at least 4 seconds at a time. Instead of shifting your eyes away from the person’s face, just gaze at their “Safety Zone” and they will never know the difference. Please remember, it is rude to look away from anyone’s face when in a conversation with them. 


When was the last time you smiled at someone without giving it a second thought? When was the last time someone caught you off guard by smiling at you, and received a smile in return?

The Webster’s Dictionary defines a smile as “to express amusement, pleasure or affection.” A smile may also be defined as accepting yourself and the situations around you enough to accept others. And the way to display this form of acceptance is by smiling.

A sincere smile can mean, “I like me enough to like you.” This gesture also can assist you in being more in control of others by putting them at ease.

Effective managers recognize the power of a smile when communicating with their staff. For example, a manager may not have the time to stop and talk to an employee. However, acknowledging the person with a smile may keep the person from feeling ignored, or perhaps even from misinterpreting that the manager is angry at the person.

A smile is one of the most effective nonverbal gestures for people to communicate acceptance to others.

When you smile, make sure your teeth are in good shape and clean, with no tea or coffee stains on the enamel, or with an unpleasant odor. Good dental health is very important to having a great smile.