Posts Tagged ‘FOMO–Fear of Missing Out’

Service of Eye Contact: 60% of the Time Has Impact

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


A client’s first radio interview took place at a tiny station without an engineer so after saying “hello, have a seat,” the host/acting engineer apologized, turned her back on my client and conducted the interview without once turning around to face her because she was also operating the equipment behind the desk. That was an unnerving and extreme example of no eye contact.

Who thinks much about eye contact unless someone exhibits unusual behavior? A former client had the attention span of a gnat that his roving eye gave away. I never met with him unless I could spit out my question or comment in few words as his eye would soon wander to others in a room filled with people. If we met in his office he’d be distracted by whomever was walking down the hall.

We worked together long before smartphones and “FOMO” that Sue Shellenbarger described in “Just Look Me in the Eye Already,” in The Wall Street Journal or he, too, might have been diagnosed with Fear of Missing Out, one of the reasons people are glued to their phones. Staring so long at a device makes it uncomfortable for some to look at another human, much less in the eye.

Quoting Quantified Impressions she noted people should make eye contact 60 to 70 percent of the time, but that on average adults do so from 30 to 60 percent.

See eye to eye 3“Yet eye contact can be a tool for influencing others. Looking at a colleague when speaking conveys confidence and respect. Prolonged eye contact during a debate or disagreement can signal you’re standing your ground. It also points to your place on the food chain: People who are high-status tend to look longer at people they’re talking to, compared with others, says a 2009 research review in Image and Vision Computing.”

Wrote Shellenbarger quoting Ben Decker of Decker Communications: “People who avert their gaze too soon, or avoid eye contact altogether, are often seen as ‘untrustworthy, unknowledgeable and nervous.'” Decker also remarked that “Too much eye contact can cause problems, too. At work, holding eye contact for more than 10 seconds can seem aggressive, empty or inauthentic.”

In captions the writer describes “The Table Talker,” “The Laser Gazer,” “The Drifter” and “The Faker” and what impressions others get from each,

Have you been flummoxed by awkward or nonexistent eye contact? Does it ever occur to you that a person may have vision issues? Do you think a parent or guardian teaches, “Look Mrs. X in the eye when you shake her hand,” or is it something humans pick up naturally by imitating others?

See Eye to Eye




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