Face to Face - The Importance of Eye Contact

February 4, 2021 - Pastor Bill Mitchell

Face to Face - The Importance of Eye Contact

Pastor Bill Mitchell
February 4, 2021

We at BocaLead know meeting in person can be difficult these days, with considerations for safety and social distancing needing to be taken before a meeting can occur. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, though, personal interactions were already beginning to become more distant, with conversations being had and decisions being made over text, email, phone call, or video call. Now, in the age of “Zoom,” we’d like to encourage you to not let communication via screen totally replace face-to-face interactions, especially when it comes to building relationships.

Looking someone in the eye is one of the oldest forms of respect you can give to the person you’re talking to. In this BocaLead session, we’re going to give you six reasons that eye contact is so important in building relationships – whether personally, or in business.

Eye Contact:

 
1. Shows you are listening.

Giving another person good eye contact when talking to them communicates you are present. Another way to communicate you are with someone in the conversation is to ask good questions, showing curiosity and interest in what they’re saying. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” He adds, we must first “seek to understand” before we even try “to be understood.”

Good, basic types of questions to begin asking: Who, what, where, when. Once you have gotten to know someone with these questions, you can then move on to the deeper questions, like “why.”

2. Shows respect.

Giving your full attention to the person you’re talking to demonstrates you value and respect them. It shows talking to them is the most important thing you could be doing in that moment. One of our BocaLead principles is that meetings and conversations are not the time to multi-task. If you are going into a meeting with someone and you know you may be interrupted by an important phone call or message, let them know ahead of time. If you like to take notes on your phone, that’s ok. Just let the person know you’re not just playing around on your phone; you’re writing down the important information they’re giving you.

3. Creates a personal connection.

Whatever line of business you are in, getting from idea to reality usually requires a group effort. We’ve found at BocaLead that the team gives its best effort when the group trusts in the leader’s vision. Good eye contact helps facilitate this process.

4. Helps convince people of your vision/direction.

Eye contact is useful in convincing someone of the sincerity of your plan, or the vision you have for the future of your business. By giving good eye contact, you are able to better connect to the person you’re talking to on a personal level, which helps them connect with the vision and direction you’re putting before them.

5. Shows a willingness to collaborate.

Looking someone in the eye says, “I am interested in what you are saying and doing.” It tells them you are willing to work together with them – to share ideas, to join forces.

One great example we give at BocaLead to illustrate the importance of meeting face to face is the 2x2 method of looking for a job. Instead of merely placing your resumé on a job posting site, contact two people who have good reputations in your chosen career field. Ask to meet with them for 15-20 minutes. During that meeting, ask, “Who are the 2 people I should be talking to” who can help me find a job in this field. When you have those two names, repeat the process with those two people, then again, and again, until you are able to find a job. Meeting face to face and looking these influential people in the eye can get you where you want to be much faster than just submitting your resumé online.

6. Shows the other person they have significance; they belong, and it builds their self-worth.

By meeting someone face to face, giving them the respect of eye contact, and paying attention to what they’re saying, you communicate to them that they are worth your time and attention. With this small act, you show them they matter.

Other Considerations:

 
    • There may be some in your company for whom eye contact means something different culturally than it does to you. As the leader, it’s your job to give respect to that person, have a discussion about their feelings/opinions/beliefs on the matter, and set the tone for the way your organization conducts business – both internally with co-workers, and externally with customers and clients.
    • We at BocaLead know the way our world does business has changed, at least for a time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you can meet safely in person, we always recommend it as the best option. If that isn’t possible right now, then a video call such as Zoom is a valid secondary option. Regular voice calls are helpful too, as they give more opportunity for listening, collaborating, and understanding than texting or emailing do.
       

We have an incredible opportunity as leaders to make our community a better place to live, work, worship, and raise a family. Until the next BocaLead session, we’d like to leave you with the words God told Moses to say to the Israelite people in Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV): “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

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