The Eyes Have It

Recently I have been asked by several clients how they will know where they stand or what someone is thinking about them when they are talking. Certainly there are many factors which play into ‘reading’ people; this is a meaty topic on which entire books have been written. Lets consider two techniques of how just our eyes can tell us a little about what others are thinking and can also help build rapport between two people.

  1. When talking with others, we all know it is polite and courteous to look them in the eye. Let’s take it one step further. Try keeping eye contact just a few beats after the person has finished speaking. It implies we are literally hanging on their every word. We are soaking in what they have been saying. When we do need to look away, so that we don’t come across like a crazed person staring at them, try letting the eyes slowly and thoughtfully move away. This denotes that we are still thinking about what was being said. It is amazing how powerful this small change can be.
  2. Another tip that has actually been used on me is this: Even when I had finished speaking, and someone else was piping into the conversation, I felt the person still looking at me. Not for a long time, yet, long enough to tell me that he/she was still intrigued with my contribution to the conversation and interested in me. I have noticed when others do this, it endears them to the other party, and builds a uniquely strong rapport between those two individuals.

These are just two techniques which are easy to incorporate into our communication styles, and can carry tremendous weight in helping to establish and build rapport and relationships with others. It can also give insights into what others may be thinking, as well.

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4 responses to “The Eyes Have It

  1. I like your technique of holding eye contact a little longer than is normal and see that it could build rapport and or relationships. I still don’t see how it addresses your first questions: how they will know where they stand or what someone is thinking about them when they are talking.

  2. Kristin:

    Excellent tips. Want a tried and true reporter’s interviewing technique?

    Ask a question and when the person finishes the answer just maintain eye contact and wait, patiently, and keep waiting.

    Most interviewees don’t like “dead air,” makes them think they have to say more so they fill the void with more answer. And sometimes that “more” is revealing.

    Tricky reporters might use this for I’ll purposes, but for most of us it’s just a means to try to dig deeper without probing with tighter questions.

    Try it and you’ll learn how long to wait and not make it feel uncomfortable.


  3. Can you please add a printer friendly feature for these articles? I like to print them and take them with me to read later but prefer not to print out the entire page. Thank you.

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