The eyes have it
By Eric, Senior Partner @Clarity CC
(5 min. read)
Last week I shared an article on our Facebook page about good eye contact. It’s one of those things that’s so important to communication, but so often something we fail to practice or even think about. Well, the other day I was confronted with this subject in a very personal way: making eye contact with my son.
I’ve always known that eye contact is arguably the most important part of making a connection with someone else.
Most of the time, we try to…focus on eye contact. But sometimes, we get so familiar in our relationships that we forget to even try.
If you’re not thinking about eye contact at your job interview, wedding day, or arm-wrestling competition, you clearly have a lot to learn. But sometimes, we get so familiar in our relationships that we forget to even try.
The other day I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink while my son was talking to me about…something (worst Dad ever). I love my boys, and my wife and I have been diligent about teaching them important stuff like manners, proper communication skills and how to pace themselves at a buffet. So I’m washing away and my son is talking while he gently kicks a little soccer ball around the living room, and I’m responding (because I really am listening) while I pile another plate in the drying rack and we have this back and forth for a minute and it suddenly hits me. I haven’t even bothered to look at him this entire time.
He wasn’t going to chide me for it; he was off in his little space too. But maybe this was an opportunity to re-engage and make the effort to practice what I preach. Who knows? Maybe I wouldn’t have to repeat myself for the umpteenth time!
So I stopped. I let the dish in my hand slip back into the soapy water, dried my hands, and turned my whole body in my son’s direction. He was still wandering around the living room, but I directed my gaze at him trying to telegraph that he had my full attention. And you know what happened? He instinctively looked up at me. We kept talking. But he looked at my eyes as he spoke, and then kept his gaze with mine as I responded. And ever since then, due to the power of that moment, I’ve been more attuned to my own eye contact and in return I’ve had to repeat myself and my droning parental ultimatums far less.
Something special happened between me and my son that was all brought about by a simple gesture of attention and eye contact.
This was a first-hand lesson for me in the power of eye contact. I don’t want to sound too cheesy, but in that moment we shared a moment. Something special happened between me and my son that was all brought about by a simple gesture of attention and eye contact. And while my illustration didn’t take place in an office boardroom or on a stage, it took place in the most important place of my life: my home. If you can practice good communication at home, you’ll be well on your way for whatever your job, your business or the world throws at you.