When engaging people in business it is important to hold the correct eye contact. Eye contact begins as soon as you wish to engage someone, but doesn’t happen continuously and in varies with whom you speak with. In fact, eye contact should be held about eighty to ninety percent of the time when men and women speak or when women speak to each other, but when men speak to each other, eye contact should be held only about sixty to seventy percent of the time.
If gaze is held for too long while men and women speak, men will evoke feelings of discomfort in women whereas women will evoke feelings of sexual interest, context permitting or dominance. If eye contact between men and women is any less than the eighty to ninety percent benchmark, both sexes will read disinterest. On the other hand if gaze is held too long amongst men, it is read as aggression, or if too short, as a lack of confidence or shiftiness. Women who wish to level the field in business can use gaze to their advantage by holding it longer than normal to increase their dominance or conversely can invoke protective feelings in men to gain resources by showing less eye contact and hence appearing more submissive. Women who increase gaze time while speaking with men will make them feel much more insecure and uneasy than that which would be caused by men against women. Men are not accustomed to taking on submissive roles especially when in the company of women, thus any women who wishes to use this tactic should be prepared. Women should always use their discretion and take their rank into consideration to decide which type of gaze is most appropriate.
As we have seen thus far, eye contact indicates that we have someone’s attention or that we are paying attention. We also discovered that while eye contact is important, we shouldn’t hold eye contact for too long lest we appear to be staring or overly dominant and while we are in the company of friends or lovers we might check out the rest of their overall physic, their clothing, their shoes and so forth, doing so in a business setting is not recommended. As noted previously, the friendly gaze travels a triangular pattern from eye to eye and then to the mouth, whereas the intimate gazes travels the same pattern with forays to the lower regions of the body in order to be “sized up”.
In business, it is important not to cast our gaze below the neckline so as not to appear sexually interested. Most of the business gaze is spent traveling from eye to eye and down only as far as the nose. The goal of the business gaze is to show interest and intensity but omit any sexual indicators. To convey an even greater seriousness, the eyes should travel from eye to eye then to the forehead, but never any lower. If you note any up and down gaze patterns from an opposite sex employer, you can be fairly certain they have more than just business on their mind! Also, men with female bosses should never allow their eyes to travel over their boss’s body unless they wish to convey sexual interest (and are prepared for the repercussions that might stem from it!). For every other encounter that is undefined or undetermined use the gaze pattern most likely to yield the response you desire. So if you wish to create friends, use the friendship gaze pattern or if you fancy someone, create intimacy with the intimacy gaze pattern and make eye forays across the face, to the lips and down to the crotch or breasts but if you want to keep it professional, keep all gaze around the eyes, nose and forehead.