Continued from part one, which can be found here.
It is only when you see “eye to eye” with another person that a real basis for communication can be established. While some people can make us feel quite comfortable when they converse with us, others can make us feel “ill at ease and some seem untrustworthy.” This has to do primarily with the length of time that they look at us or hold our gaze as they speak. When a person is being dishonest or holding back information his eyes meet ours less than one-third of the time. When a person’s gaze meets ours for more than two thirds of the time, it can mean one of two things; first, he or she finds us very interesting or appealing, in which case the gaze will be associated with dilated pupils; secondly, he or she is hostile towards you and may be issuing a non-verbal challenge, in which case the pupils will become constricted. When person A like’s person B, he will look at him a lot. This causes B to think that A likes him.
Like most body language and gestures, the length of time that one person gazes at another is culturally determined. Southern Europeans have a high frequency of gaze that may be offensive to others and the Japanese gaze at the neck rather than at the face when conversing. We have to consider cultural circumstances before jumping to conclusions.
Not only is the length of the gaze significant; just as important is the geographical area of the person’s face and body at which you direct your gaze, as this also affects the outcome of a negotiation. These signals are transmitted and received non-verbally and are accurately interpreted by the receiver.
The following eye techniques can be effectively used to improve your communication skills:
The Business Gaze
When having discussions on a business level, imagine that there is a triangle on the other person’s forehead. By keeping your gaze directed at this area, you create a serious atmosphere and the other person senses that you mean business. Provided that your gaze does not drop below the level of the other person’s eyes, you are able to maintain control of the interaction.
The Social Gaze
When the gaze drops below the other person’s eye level, a social atmosphere develops. Experiments into gazing reveal that during social encounters the gazer’s eyes also look in a triangular area on the other person’s face, in this case between the eyes and the mouth.
The Intimate Gaze