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Why Is Eye Contact so Important?

Angie Garcia

Written By:

Angie Garcia

Updated: 20 May 2024 •  
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Have you heard the saying, “The eyes are the window to the soul“?
 
Well, there’s a reason why eye contact is so important.
 
Be it a friendly chat or a job interview, making eye contact conveys respect and attentiveness and helps establish trust.
 
This engagement can foster a deeper connection with the person you are conversing with.
 
Let’s explore why maintaining eye contact is essential, plus learn some tips on how to make a strong impression through your gaze.

1. It’s a basic bonding method

a couple looking into each others eyes

Maintaining eye contact with someone may indicate your presence and interest.

 
Eye contact is a bonding method that helps establish trust and intimacy in personal and professional relationships.
 
Research indicates that eye contact can activate the release of oxytocin,[1] a hormone linked to social bonding and connectedness.
 
So whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or catching up with an old friend, maintaining eye contact can help strengthen your relationship.
 

2. Eye contact helps communicate honesty and build trust

people making eye contact in a meeting

Maintaining eye contact during meetings can foster trust and credibility.

 
Maintaining eye contact is more than just a polite gesture—it’s vital to effective communication.
 
Whether having a one-on-one conversation or addressing a group, meeting someone’s gaze shows that you’re listening and engaged.
 
Conversely, avoiding eye contact can make you appear uninterested or even dishonest.
 

3. You can command respect with proper eye contact

woman appear credible by making proper eye contact with the listener

Managers who maintain good eye contact with their team members can enhance their credibility.

 
Did you know that eye contact is more than just a simple gesture?
 
By locking eyes with someone during a conversation, you signal that you’re attentive and actively participating in the discussion.
 
This helps build trust and respect, which may be useful when you’re in a leadership position.
 
But that’s not all.
 
Maintaining steady eye contact also shows that you’re genuinely interested and respectful of the other person’s thoughts and opinions.
 

4. Improves communication with the other party

two people maintaining eye contact while talking about work over coffee

Eye contact fosters natural conversation flow and creates openness between parties.

 
Connecting with someone can be a tough nut to crack, but holding good eye contact during a chat can make a difference.
 
Not only does it indicate your attentiveness, but it can also aid in the other person’s retention of what you’re saying.
 
When you lock eyes with someone, you convey a sense of respect and confidence that can make your words more impactful.
 

5. Eye contact helps heighten your resistance to persuasion

two people maintaining eye contact while conversing over wine

Steady eye contact boosts confidence and resists persuasion.

 
Want to avoid being easily persuaded? Make sure you maintain eye contact when conversing.
 
Research has shown that this increases one’s ability to resist persuasion.[2]
 
It enhances the connection and trust between two people, and making strong eye contact also shows confidence in yourself.
 

6. Use eye contact to create and foster attraction

two people maintaining eye contact while conversing over coffee

Not only can eye contact help build a connection between two people, but it can also spark feelings of attraction.

 
Looking into someone’s eyes can be powerful in more ways than one.
 
Eye contact signals that you’re fully invested in the conversation and what the other person says.
 
The intensity of the gaze can also convey a sense of closeness and intimacy that words sometimes can’t express.
 
So, if you want to create a deeper connection with someone special, try holding their gaze a little longer next time.
 

How you can improve your eye contact

If you’re looking to improve your ability to maintain eye contact, remember these tips:
 

1. Aim for balance and refrain from staring

 
While making eye contact is essential, avoiding staring is important, as this can make people uncomfortable.
 
Instead, aim for a balanced level of eye contact that feels natural to you and the other person.
 

2. Practice the 50/70 rule

 
two people using the 50 70 rule for eye contact

The 50/70 rule can help establish a natural and comfortable level of eye contact.

 
The 50/70 rule is a helpful way to maintain eye contact during a conversation.
 
Try to maintain eye contact with the other person for about 50% of the conversation.
 
When the other person is speaking, try to increase eye contact to 70% of the time.
 
This level of engagement will show that you were actively listening and engaged in the conversation, which can lead to better communication and understanding.
 
Remember that this rule is not a strict requirement, and it’s okay to deviate from it if it feels unnatural or uncomfortable.
 

3. Try the inverted triangle rule

 
The “inverted triangle” eye contact technique is a subtle way to maintain eye contact without staring.
 
By starting with one eye, moving to the other, and then down to the person’s mouth, you create the illusion of eye contact while avoiding the intensity of a direct stare.
 
This technique is beneficial when you might feel uncomfortable holding someone’s gaze for an extended period, such as during a job interview or a first date.
 
Practice this technique to establish connection and attentiveness without overwhelming the other person.
 

4. Get an anti-reflective coating if you wear glasses

 
a couple wearing glasses maintaining eye contact

Wearing glasses with an anti-reflective coating can ensure clear, unobstructed eye contact.

 
When taking selfies or having face-to-face conversations, reflections on glasses can create a barrier between you and the other person.
 
The glare or reflection is where anti-reflective coating comes in handy.
 
It helps reduce light reflections off your lenses and helps minimize distracting glares and reflections.
 
Some optical shops charge extra for lens coatings, with prices varying depending on the nature of the coating.
 
At Mouqy, we offer anti-reflective coating as a standard feature on all our lenses.
 

5. Establish eye contact early

 
When you meet someone new, looking them in the eye as you introduce yourself is an excellent icebreaker and can make a positive first impression.
 
This helps create a relaxed environment for the rest of the chat, making the other person feel more at ease around you.
 
As the conversation develops, maintaining eye contact can reinforce the connection and indicate that you are paying attention and engaging in what the other person is saying.
 

Eye contact is a powerful communication tool

two woman making eye contact while conversing

Looking into someone’s eyes can hold significant meaning and impact.

 
Eye contact is a powerful tool that can significantly impact your personal or professional relationships.
 
It can make you more trustworthy and attractive and help you build strong connections with others.
 
But how can you make sure you’re doing it right every time?
 
Fortunately, you can use easy-to-follow tips and techniques to improve your eye contact game.
 
One important tip is to aim for balance, ensuring you’re not staring too intensely or avoiding eye contact altogether.
 
Another helpful technique is the 50/70 rule, which involves maintaining eye contact 50% of the time when speaking and 70% of the time when listening.
 
Remember to establish eye contact before starting a conversation, showing you’re present and engaged.
 
By mastering these skills, you can cultivate a confident and engaging presence that will leave a lasting impression on everyone you interact with.
 
And if you want to up your eye contact game, check out other related content on Mouqy.
 
You can learn interesting eye-related contact, such as whether glasses make you attractive or why we roll our eyes.
 
Keep practicing, and soon, maintaining eye contact will become second nature!
 

References

  • “Tell Me All I Need to Know About Oxytocin”, Psycom.
  •  

  • “Eye contact may make people more resistant to persuasion”, ScienceDaily.
Angie Garcia

Written by:

Angie Garcia

Angie is a Manila-based writer who specializes in wellness and lifestyle topics. She likes trying out new workouts and drinking coffee when not writing.