The Eyes Say It All.

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The Eyes Say It All.

By Jane Hanson

They are the gateway to the soul, but without good eye contact you will never convince anyone to hire, buy, or even fall in love.   And it’s been that way since the days of the cave man — where often it made the difference between life and death.

 Eyes provide details of our emotions, intentions, respect and confidence.  Think of when you might have been left out of a group when someone holding court doesn’t look your way.   Or when someone’s lying — chances are they are looking away or up to the left.   It immediately puts you off.

I tell my clients that eye contact makes your words more memorable.  Studies show a mere 30 percent of time spent making eye contact can mean a significant increase in what people remember.

And eye contact makes people more honest.  Countless studies have been done leaving money on a street … When eye contact was made, those who found it were far more likely to try to return it.

But the question clients always ask is … how long should I hold someone’s gaze before it becomes uncomfortable.  Research has shown that most people are comfortable with about 3.2 seconds of eye contact from a stranger, while another found that you should look someone in the eye 50% of the time while speaking, 70% while listening. 

 A good trick is to look at your interviewer’s eyes long enough to register what color they are before looking away.

Another is to imagine a triangle on the other person’s face around their eyes and mouth … then change your gaze every seven seconds from one point on the triangle to another.

And when in front of a large group, I divide the room into threes … like slices of pie.   Then I make sure I look at people in each slice as I speak.

By the way other research shows bosses tend to make more eye contact with workers they see as high performers.

So be confident and look ‘em in the eye.  It works every time.


Emmy award winning television journalist and coach Jane Hanson has spent over 30 years helping people learn to communicate better.

Not only does it enhance their presence, and ensure they resonate with every type of audience, but in today’s fast paced world, it is imperative to be on one’s game 24/7. Hanson focuses on three core elements: what you say, how you say it, and how your body language keeps it all in sync. Learn more.

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