Good eye contact is often hailed as an essential aspect of effective communication.
Amelia Reigstad, communications consultant, and coach said, “Eye contact is an effective tool in conversations since it conveys understanding and respect and acknowledges that you are listening. When you speak, making eye contact with those in the room shows you are confident and want to build rapport with them.
Although not everyone can make eye contact while speaking, locking eyes is too intimate or uncomfortable for some people. Due to processing issues and overstimulation, people with autism spectrum disorder find it challenging or distressing.
Don’t worry if someone isn’t making eye contact with you. The experts below share their advice on navigating this situation and fostering a positive relationship.
It’s Nothing Personal
Make eye contact with someone without being offended. Lack of eye contact can have various reasons that have nothing to do with rudeness. It can also be a matter of different people feeling comfortable around eye contact. They may also avoid eye contact because they’re distracted by something unrelated to the conversation.
Be Kind And Empathic
Nick Leighton, an etiquette expert, said, “Whenever someone does not make eye contact, you should always act with empathy and kindness, which can mean ignoring it, changing your behaviour, or addressing it politely.” Since there are many possible variables, there is no one answer, so you must use your judgment to choose an approach that will work for you. It’s always best to act compassionately.
Adapt To Their Preferences
It might be challenging to determine why the other person lacks eye contact if you don’t know them well. Take a moment to pause and ask if they have any questions or need clarification. Continue talking as if they were looking at you. Kammeyer said, “If it is not a cultural issue, it is typically a power issue where the person not making eye contact is not empowered at the moment.”
Avoid One-Sided Conversations
Gottsman said, “As a speaker, I make it a habit to ‘watch the room,’ making a mental note of how people respond to what I have to say.” Don’t monopolize the conversation by asking questions. Give the other person more chances to speak. To engage your conversation partner more, ask questions that aren’t yes or no.