Eye contact provides social information to the person you are listening to and talking to. Too much eye contact and you could be seen as aggressive, and too little eye contact and you can be seen as having no interest in the person speaking. It is an often overlooked skill and yet critical to effective communication.
A physician once noted the importance of eye contact skills when he was counseling people face-to-face. He noticed when he broke eye contact, the person would stop speaking. When he maintained eye contact, the person would continue talking, knowing that he was interested in what they had to say.
Street traders know the importance of the eyes when using their selling skills to keep their potential buyers interested. When you are aroused or interested in an object, your pupils will dilate and this is a big cue for salesmen all over the world. Also, when someone is interested in someone sexually, their pupils will dilate and hold the person’s gaze a little longer than normal.
We use eye contact every day of our lives so it makes sense to learn the best ways to use eye contact skills to your advantage. Certain situations demand different uses of the eyes. For example, if your are arguing, it is seen as strong if you can hold your gaze. If you are deferring to someone, it is better to lower your eyes. If you are loving someone, it is good to stare into the pool of the eyes.
When talking to a group of people, it is great to have direct contact with your listeners. Since you can’t maintain eye contact with just one person, because this will stop the other members of the group from listening, focus on a different member of the group (or a different section of the group) with your every new sentence. This way you are making contact with different areas of your audience regularly.