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This isn't going well - she looks right through him.

This isn’t going well – she looks right through him.

Eye language is important in business as it can often be more indicative of intent then other body language. It can also significantly improve the chances of a sale at best, and at worst, can simply help convey better meaning and understanding. The most effective use of eye contact is in fleeting glances, which at first might seem counter-intuitive. However, prolonged eye contact can be seen as rude, untrustworthy, threatening or even aggressive. When seen in a client, it can mean that a sale is being resisted, where he or she is “staring” you down trying to find flaws in your sales pitch. Poor eye contact or prolonged periods of looking away can mean the reverse; indifference or outright disinterest. This is why brief glances followed by looking away, or at the material at hand, is most appropriate in a sale, and when done by a client, the best indication that a sales call is being well received.

The way eyes are positioned can give us indications of what a person is thinking. Generally, a person is passively receiving information if they are simply looking straight ahead and when conscientiously processing the information clients will look upward.

Here is a break-down for the complete set of eye movement patterns and what they mean as they relate to business:

1. Eyes focused straight ahead – passive receiving of information
2. Prolonged eye contact – threat and aggression or disinterest in sales pitch
3. Eyes to the right – message is being considered
4. Eyes to the left – person is relating to a past experience.
5. Eyes down – emotional concentration from an emotional thinker.
6. Extended looks away – desire to withdraw or vacate.
7. Eyes at ceiling – conscious analyzing.

By being aware of the manner in which the eyes focus, one can gauge the success or failure of the meeting, so as to either, remedy the pitch in the future or rework the meeting on the fly.