Eyes are powerful in communication; no other parts of the body communicate in the same way. The quickest way to appear disinterested, distracted, inattentive, or dishonest is not to look the other person in the eye or even in the face.
While most of us are taught to look people in the eye when they speak, few do. People will be generous with other people’s characters and comment with observations such as, “He can’t look you in the eye. “You can look you in the eye. “” He has devious eyes. “She gives you the evil eye.” “He has wild eyes. . . dull eyes. . . has lies in his eyes. ”Her impressions allow her to jump to conclusions about other people, even if they are grossly inaccurate.
If you think CEOs don’t care about details like eye contact in all of their important work, consider these comments I heard in my interviews:
“Only when you are Justin Beiber can you afford to distract your eyes, keep moving, never smile, never get involved when you meet me in the hallway.”
“I fire eye rolls.”
“Sometimes I deliberately look like I’m sleeping in a video conference to see if people say things they wouldn’t say in front of me if I were awake.”
“Eyes speak volumes for me. I trust that. “
“Don’t look down. You have to face the people you torture. “
“If you’re constantly looking around, up and down, there are several ways you should be more careful.”
“When I deal with difficult people, I look them in the eye and wiggle my eyebrows.”
As I’ve written many times, little things make a big difference. They know that you are competent in what they are looking for, that it “fits” and that your ability to “look them in the eye” is part of it.
Benton and Wright, co-authors of The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017)