Here’s a little-known fact. If you want someone to remember your words… make eye contact.
A 2006 joint study between the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Stirling found that making eye contact even 30% of the time increases people’s ability to remember your words.
Great info, right?
Read on, because today I have 21 tips to improve your eye contact game… specifically for men!
#1 – Make Enough Eye Contact
If you live in the U.S. or Canada, follow the 50/70 rule – studies at Michigan State University found you should look someone in the eye 50% of the time while speaking to them, and 70% while listening.
#2 – Don’t Make Too Much Eye Contact
If you go over the 50 or 70% you can come off as aggressive – I’ve even gotten flack for looking too much at the camera in my videos.
#3 – Look For 3-5 Seconds
In North America, you should look at people for 3-5 seconds at a time if you want to look confident. Less appears more timid, more appears aggressive.
If you’re not sure how long 3 seconds is, try counting 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi in your head.
Exception: If you’re making eye contact with a woman you don’t know, go for 1-2 seconds.
#4 – Hold Eye Contact To Make People Tell You The Truth
Research out of Tufts University found that eye contact makes people more honest. So if you’re buying a car or dealing with someone you think is shady, look them in the eyes.
#5 – Movement + Eye Contact = Memorable
Two researchers working out of Radboud University and Rutgers University found that eye contact, coupled with a sudden movement (such as an out-of-nowhere hand motion or a turn of the head while you make eye contact) makes people both more memorable and more noticeable.
To invite conversation, add some short head moves to the right or left while looking into people’s eyes – it looks like you’re saying, ‘Want to talk?’
#6 – Know How Much Eye Contact To Make With Authority
Study how to make eye contact with authority before you start a new job – or better yet, before you go to a job interview. Take into account the setting, the culture, and the background of those you could be working for.
A 2013 study by National Public Radio found that too much eye contact with your boss could backfire because it signals dominance.
Bosses tend to make more eye contact with workers they see as high performers, and avoid eye contact with workers they see as lower status (Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2010).
Male bosses are more likely to do this.
#7 – Establish Eye Contact At The Start
To make a confident first impression, before you even start using your voice, establish eye contact with everyone in the room.
As a newcomer, it’s YOUR job to break the ice. When you greet people, make eye contact and offer a handshake.
#8 – Know The Local Culture
The 50/70 rule and 3-5 seconds won’t work in every country:
In many Asian countries (China, India, Pakistan) avoiding eye contact with superiors is a sign of respect.
In Japan, eye contact is seen as rude and it’s more polite to look at the neck.
Some religious groups, such as Muslims, are careful about men and women making eye contact.
Do your homework.
#9 -Keep It Fair
If you’re meeting a group of people, show respect by holding eye contact with each of them for about the same amount of time – even if you know some of them and not others.
#10 – Don’t Assume She Likes You If She Looks At You
Not every woman who looks at you is into you. Look at the environment – if you’re at work maybe she just wants to ask you a question about your department. If you’re at a wedding and she’s gazing into your eyes… that’s different.
- If she looks away and then looks back for another peek
- If she holds your gaze for a couple of seconds
- And especially if she smiles while looking into your eyes
she’s probably into you – but you still need to talk to her to find out.
#11 – Don’t Assume She Hates You If She Doesn’t Look At You
Women often avoid eye contact with men because they don’t want to be seen as making an advance.
She may be married, she may just be trying to be modest, or she may be used to men being overly aggressive when she does make eye contact.
Don’t force eye contact if she looks like she doesn’t want it.
#12 – When You Meet A Woman’s Eyes – Smile
When you make eye contact with a woman you don’t know, give her a smile.
Eye contact AND smiling together are more attractive than eye contact OR smiling alone.
Simply show you’re a nice person. That’s all you’re looking to do. This is something I think more men could do. I sometimes still fall into the trap of looking away because it feels awkward – but practice looking at people and smiling. It’s OK to smile at men too!
#13 – Don’t Stare At Breasts
It needs to be said – when you’re speaking to a woman, look her in the eyes. Women can see when you’re talking to their breasts, and even if they like you – ESPECIALLY if they like you – they want to feel that you’re focused on their words.
There are ways that you can train yourself to stop looking elsewhere.
Ask yourself her eye color – “Are my coworker Amy’s eyes green or hazel?”
This can also help you remember new names – and if you can actually remember a woman’s eye color you’re ahead of most guys.
#14 – ‘Sticky Eyes’ Are Attractive
If you want to flirt, when you look away from her turn your head away first, but let your gaze linger a moment longer.
This says you find her so desirable it’s hard to tear your eyes away from her—but you respect her too much to gawk.
This is a great technique to use when you’re talking to a woman and you have to go, but you maintain that eye contact and give her a smile. It’s very attractive to women.
#15 – Know Where To Look
You may find it easier to look at just one of someone’s eyes instead of both, or at the area below the eyes.
For a business associate, imagine a line below their eyes that forms the base of a triangle, with the peak at their mid-forehead. Keep your eyes in the middle of that triangle.
For someone you know personally, invert the triangle so the middle is in the bridge of their nose.
Don’t spend too much time looking at the lower half of someone’s face unless you’re flirting.
#16 – Blinking
Don’t Blink Too Much During Eye Contact
We tend to blink more when we are under stress – so practice looking into people’s eyes without blinking too much. When you’re sending a serious message, less blinking = more credibility.
What’s ‘too much’? Anything over about 30 times a minute (once per two seconds).
Remember To Blink
Not blinking looks unnatural. I know – I have this issue. I’ve been told I look like a robot because I don’t blink enough!
What’s ‘not enough’? Under 10 times a minute (once per six seconds).
Remember to blink and show normal facial expressions and gestures when you’re talking. Otherwise, you’ll just come off as staring – and it’s rude to stare.
#17 – Show You’re Listening When You’re Not Looking
During the moments you’re not looking, show that you’re paying attention – this could be taking notes in a meeting, or smiling when someone is telling you something funny.
If you take out your phone to make notes, let them know what you’re doing – ‘mind if I make notes?’ Otherwise, it can look as if you’re texting.
#18 – For Short Requests, Make More Eye Contact
A 2013 study at the University of British Columbia found that for short requests or simple communication, more eye contact was more persuasive.
So if you want to ask something simple or small, go ahead and break the 50/70 rule. Look the person in the eye and make your request.
#19 – For Long Speeches, Make Less Eye Contact
If you’re giving a speech or presentation over 30 minutes long, you also want to break the 50/70 rule… by making less eye contact.
Looking people in the eyes more than about 60% of the time will seem aggressive and be less persuasive. This is especially true when the audience don’t know you.
#20 – Understand Children Find Eye Contact Hard
Don’t force too much eye contact with a child.
With your own children or children you know well, explain the importance of eye contact and encourage them to look at people.
#21 – ‘Smize’ – Smile With Your Eyes
Try it in front of the mirror to see the difference between a smile that doesn’t reach the eyes and one that does.
You can even ‘smize’ with your eyes alone. Done right, it’s a very masculine look that suggests you have a tough exterior but a warm heart.
If you’re here for the attraction tips, you might be wondering what would make HER eyes wander down YOUR body. Well, you don’t have to wonder – because somebody asked women.
Want to know what clothing women find most attractive on men – from their own lips? Click here to learn the secrets of sexy men’s clothing.