July 4, 2015

Making Eye Contact With Americans

Making eye contact in face-to-face encounters (video-con or Skype) is crucial to building trust with Americans.

While in some cultures, a downward gaze may signify deference and resepect, to Americans, this same downward gaze could signify any one of these traits: 
  • A lack of confidence  
  • Untrustworthiness  
  • Unfriendliness or rudeness  
  • Shyness, a lack of initiative  
  • Not caring  
  • Not paying attention or being uninterested
  • Not listening  
I often share tips in my coaching seminars on the appropriate ways to make eye contact to build trust and friendship with Americans. The below infographic from trainerbubble.com shows some tips on where in the face to make eye contact for different kinds of gazes. Please avoid the 'intimate gaze' with colleagues.

Many Indians ask me, "I can make eye contact, but how do I know I am not staring?" This is a great question. Read the below infographic for details on this. I find their advice to be quite accurate.
Eye Contact as a Presenter
Keep in mind eye contact is important not only in one to one conversations, but in presentations. In a presentation it's imperative for the presenter to scan the audience frequently and make eye contact with all or as many people as possible. Making eye contact with the audience keeps them engaged and responsible to pay attention. They will also feel more compelled to pay attention as they know you are paying attention to them!

Eye Contact as an Audience Member 
If you are an audience member in a presentation or work-related meeting with twenty people or less, it's important to make eye contact with the presenter. If someone answers a question, make eye contact with that person. If you ask a question, you are like a mini-presenter, try to look at everyone while talking to engage everyone. 

Jennifer Kumar provides tailored coaching and training to executives and professionals in India working with Americans. Role plays and analysis of situations (detailing the dos and don'ts of non-verbal communication with Americans and the reasons behind it), are the hallmark of the one-to-one, small group and larger group training sessions. Please contact Jennifer for more information.

Related Links:
Using English to Express Initiative  
Using Tone of Voice to Express Initiative 

Networked blogs link: http://networkedblogs.com/KWaL9

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