Eye contact in public settings can be tricky. We know we should be doing it but it can feel a little fraught.
What if it makes people uncomfortable? What if it makes me uncomfortable?
Eye contact is valuable precisely because of the real connection it allows. Which means that both parties have to be willing to connect in that moment. It also means that both parties have to accept what comes up from that connection. Still, what makes eye contact powerful is also what makes it not appropriate for every situation.
Instead of making eye-to-eye contact in professional settings, might I suggest just seeing everyone? The difference is this, when I look into your eyes you and I make a connection that excludes others for a moment. When I look at you and take you in, acknowledging and appreciating you, then the whole room is included in that appreciation. It is the difference between focusing on a person’s eyes and focusing on their entire face. It makes it easier to move from one person to another and shows the room that you value everyone within it.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.