Eye contact is incredibly important in communication. Communicating with other people is not just about the verbal element of what you say. It also includes the non-verbal elements. One of the most important of this is eye contact, which can make or break your communication with someone. For that reason, I am going to dive deep into this topic. I will look at it in the three scenarios it is most common: with an Individual, within a Group, and when Public Speaking.


When you are talking to just one person, he or she should be your main focus. You should look at them. Focus completely on the individual, and make and hold eye contact with that person. Not in an intense psychopath manner, but in a normal way.

A lot of people forget to maintain eye contact with the person they are talking to.

They tend to get distracted. Especially in today’s world where modern technology has caused a lot of us to have shorter attention spans.

It is quite common to see two people having a conversation with each other. Then one of them will start looking at his or her phone instead of paying attention to the other person. When you are in a conversation with someone, pay attention to them. Do not ignore them to check your phone. Look at that person, listen to that person, do not get distracted.

Another regular occurrence is that while one person is talking, the other person might not check their phone, but will look around at other things instead. He or she is still not paying complete attention to the person speaking.

You may be listening to the other person. But if you are staring into the sky in the distance, or looking at people walking by; the person talking to you may feel that you are not listening to them. Even if you are hearing their words and taking it in, if you are looking away, they will feel ignored. Eye contact is a way to show the person speaking that you are listening to them.

When the other person sees you looking at them, they will feel that you are listening to them and respect what they have to say. They will open up and talk more. They will tell you more about themselves, and you will be more likely to learn things about them. The more communication there is between two people, the closer they become, and the stronger the relationship will be.

Giving the other person eye contact when they are talking will make them feel respected and appreciated. And that is really what a lot of us want at the end of the day.

Maintain eye contact
Good eye contact is powerful in conversation.


In a conversation with a group of people (which generally ranges from 3 to 7 people, but could be more), eye contact is still important. It’s not as important as when you are just talking to an individual, but still important. The effect it has in a conversation with a group of people can significantly alter a conversation.

Using Eye Contact In Groups

When talking to a group of people, if you look at every person as you are speaking, it will make everyone feel included. Each person you make eye contact with, will feel as if you are addressing them, and they are part of what you are saying. When you are talking to a group of people, try to make eye contact with every single person.

When you ignore one person, as in you address everyone in the group except for one person, that person may feel left out. In some cases, that person could even leave your group in the conversation and drift to a conversation with another group of people. When you are making eye contact with people in the group, make sure you do not exclude one person.

Beware of doing the exact opposite, of where you ignore everyone else in the group, but look at just one person. If you are looking at just one person, and there are several others in that group conversation, the person you look at may feel awkward and uncomfortable because of the extra attention. Other people in the group may think there is something special between you and that person, and the other person may not want that. That person will feel incredibly awkward, more so if they are of the opposite gender to you.

So do not just focus your on one person and ignore everyone else. But do not ignore just one person and look at everyone else. Try to spread your attention around with everyone in the group. Of course if the group of people you are talking to happens to be too big, such as if you are talking to a group of fourteen people at a picnic, it will be a lot harder to look at every single person. So in that case just make eye contact with who you can.

Group Conversations Split Into Smaller Groups

Sometimes in a group of five or six people talking together, the group may naturally divide into two people having a conversation among themselves. And the other people will have a conversation among themselves. You will know when this happens as you will notice two or three people within the group starting their own conversation while the other people in the group are focused on their own conversation. It is generally accompanied by a change in the body language of the participants as they turn a bit more to face each other. In such a case, it is okay to look at just the people within this mini-group you are in, until the two small groups join together again if they do join together again.

When someone else in the group is talking, look at him or her. Do not look elsewhere. This is a way of showing that person you respect him or her, and are giving your attention and are interested in what they are saying.

Eye contact shows you are listening
The two listeners have good eye contact, which show they are listening to the speaker.


In a speech to a lot of people, eye contact is the difference between a good public speaker and a bad public speaker.

A bad public speaker, will look down at his feet. Or look elsewhere because he or she is too afraid to make eye contact with the audience.

There is nothing to be afraid of. Realize that by avoiding eye contact and not looking at your audience, you are actually making your speech worse. Looking at your audience will make your speech more effective.

Becoming A Better Public Speaker

This is one reason the really good public speakers like to talk without notes. Because they don’t want to be constantly looking down at notes and not looking at the audience. A big hint here, the really good public speakers don’t memorize their entire speech word for word. They memorize the key points, and then practice it several times before they have to give the presentation.

And the best times to try and memorize something, is before you sleep at night, and when you first wake up in the morning. When I have to give a speech in public, I start memorizing it at least a week before I have to do it. I will memorize it at night just before I sleep, then when I wake up in the morning I will practice it. I will keep repeating this over several days leading up to when I have to give the presentation.

When you are giving a public speech, make eye contact with as many people as you can. Don’t look away from the audience, and don’t just stare at one person either. This is ineffective public speaking. Looking away from the audience is an amateur mistake, and just picking one person that you feel comfortable with and staring at that person will make others feel ignored.

Look at as many different people in the audience, and look at each of them for a few seconds. This is what all the professional public speakers do. It creates a slight connection, which causes the person that you look at to feel like the speech is directed to them. They feel they are included and are a part of it.

If you are too afraid to make eye contact with people in the audience, then look at them just above their eyebrows. It will make them feel like you are looking at them. It is not the ideal solution, but it is better than not looking at them. But do not just completely avoid eye contact and stare at your feet, or look somewhere else.

The more public speaking you do, the better you will become at it, and the easier it will be for you to make and maintain eye contact with members of an audience.

Eye contact in public speaking
Sometimes speakers will use a prop, like musical instruments, to hold the attention of the audience.


Avoiding eye contact in communication is a big mistake. There may be certain situations where you avoid it, such as getting unwanted romantic attention. But when it comes to communicating with family, friends, or people you want to build a connection with; eye contact is key. Avoiding it is avoiding a chance to grow an interaction.

The person who you are not looking at when they are talking, especially when it is in an individual situation, such as you and one other person; that person will feel ignored and that what he is saying is unimportant.

Change Your Thoughts And Reactions To Eye Contact

Make the effort to make eye contact with the people you are talking to. If you’re the type of person that likes looking around and not at the other person, then change your thoughts. Start telling yourself eye contact is important. The other person is giving up their time to be with you, so they deserve your attention.

If you’re on the other end of this treatment, don’t let it affect you if someone doesn’t give you eye contact. We live in a world where people have shorter attention spans due to overuse of technology. People can also avoid eye contact because they are preoccupied with problems they are thinking about. So don’t take it personally if they don’t pay attention to you.

In some cases, a person may ignore you because they genuinely think you are boring. In such a scenario, don’t get upset or worked up about it. These things happen. Not everyone will like you, and not everything you say will be interesting. Do not let it affect you. Some people get really upset and become sad or feel rejected when this happens. Do not let this be you.

There are two truths in life that will never change. The first is that not everyone will like you. The second is that not everything you say will be interesting. This is okay. This is normal. Nobody can get everyone to like them. It is a pointless and futile quest.

While you should try to give eye contact to others when they talk, don’t be offended if they don’t treat you the same way. Realize that this happens, and be okay with that. But on the other hand, don’t be one of those people. Realize that not everyone can handle being ignored, and try not to ignore others.


You do not want to give too much eye contact and be staring at people. But you should be aiming to do it when it is appropriate, and when the other person is talking to you, or you are talking to them.

A good guide is to use the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. Ask yourself, “If the roles were reversed and I was in the situation this person is in right now, would I want eye contact?”. Or “If I were in the position this person is in right now, would I want people to look at me, or to look somewhere else?” This type of thinking is really effective to make you socially savvy and help you make more friends.

This golden rule will guide you through a lot of social situations, not just eye contact.

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