Eye contact

Eye contact1Eye contact means a lot in non-verbal communication. It is very difficult to have a conversation with someone who avoids looking at you. Though we listen with our ears, eye contact does matter. In human being, eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behaviour. The term eye contact was coined in the early 1960s; and it has been in practice since then. The act is a significant and an important sign of confidence in social communication. The study of eye contact is sometimes known as Oculesics.

If you have good eye contact with a person, it generally projects your interest in the person while talk to him/her and it shows that you want to listen what the person is saying. If you look down or away from a person rather than meeting his or her gaze, it projects your disinterest in him or her. If you neglect making eye contact with a person, it signifies you lack self-confidence.  People, who are self-assured and are convinced of what they are saying, have a clear eye contact.

eye contact2

eye contact3Eye contact and facial expressions   are interlinked and they provide important sinals in conversation. I think, subconsciously we probe each other’s eyes and faces for approvals and disapprovals. Eye contacts stimulate strong emotions. It is an important element in showing fondness, flirting, love, romance, which serves to establish and determine interest in establishing relations. Mutual eye contact that signals attraction initially begins as a brief glance and progresses into a repeated volleying of eye contact. We all avoid eye contacts with strangers. Don’t we? If you frequently stare at somebody, it can impede the person’s privacy.

When people struggle to make eye contact with others, it shows that they are not confident. Failing to make eye contact suggests that the person is shy; it can also be taken as disrespect. Making eye contact for a longer than required indicates that a person is outgoing; but to some it might indicate aggression and over-confidence. So beware.

In interviews especially eye contacts are considered very important.  The panelists do observe your eye contact. Switching your eyes from left to right and back all the time will make you appear insecure, careless, and confused. Do you know, that one study says that left side of face is more expressive than right side? Our critical thinking is controlled by left side of brain and right side of brain controls emotions. It is also found that females have better eye contact than male.

eye contact4How different cultures view eye contacts?

The customs and significance of eye contact vary broadly between different cultures.  Americans appreciate a good eye contact during conversation. In Spain, France and Germany also stable eye contact is appreciated. Maintaining constant eye contact is considered well mannered and polite.  In Western cultures eyes are considered to show the central point of a person’s focus.

In Middle Eastern culture, eye contact is less common, and considered less appropriate than in Western cultures. There are strict gender rules; women should not make too much eye contact with men as it can be misunderstood as romantic interest.

In Asian countries such as China and Japan, eye contact is not considered an essential element in social interaction, instead it is often considered inappropriate. These countries have an authoritarian culture, in which subordinates shouldn’t make steady eye contact with their superiors. For example, students are discouraged from making eye contact with their professors, as it can be interpreted as a sign of disregard.

Many African and Latin American cultures are strong in hierarchical societies. In many circumstances intense eye contact is seen as aggressive, provoking and really disrespectful. Friends, eye contact is subtly ingrained in societies. It is worth to know what it means in each culture before taking a trip to a country.

And, do you know, that although it is common in Western culture for adults to admire babies and young children and commenting upon how cute they are; this is totally avoided in Vietnamese culture for fear that these comments may be overheard by bad spirits and those spirits will try to steal the baby or otherwise cause some harm to it.

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Over the course of my life, I have done all possible jobs that one can think of – front desk assistant, telephone operator, clerical work, accounts assistant, inventory officer, sales woman, sales manager, tutor, lecturer, professor, director...etc. The range of job designations and experience of working in diverse roles has given me strength to think, help people, increase customer satisfaction, promote products, and off course build brands. When I look back at my career, in some jobs I excelled, in some I continued with odds. But the fact is that the diversity in my career has strengthened me as a person and definitely enhanced my skills. Every job taught me something or the other. I love meeting people, reading, travelling, listening to music, cooking, gardening, teaching, writing. Blogging has been a recent addition and am loving it. It has become my biggest hobby. Blogging has changed my life. My blog is wide-ranging manifestation of the way I think. I am a creative individual; I write because I have the urge to translate expressions of life. Over the years I studied and added some degrees as well. I have a PhD in Marketing Management from University of Pune, a post doctoral D.Litt (Doctor of letters) from Mumbai University in strategic management. I am a Professor of Management Studies with 16 years of teaching experience and have over 20 years industry experience. My core teaching areas are Marketing Strategy and General Management. As a teacher, I have always maintained the academic rigor in my classroom, I have always believed and practiced academic engagement while lecturing, I believe in experiential teaching-learning. I truly believe that education is interdisciplinary; therefore I have successfully guided 15 students for their PhD degree across various sectors in business management which includes a broad base of research coursework coupled with an area of specialization. I write on various management topics, research, news and higher education for students. And, the general section of articles on my blog relate to my interests in life. Happy reading to you all!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Many thanks for your article eye contact.You have very lucidly mentioned the different attitudes adpoted in various countries which is very useful to their visitor ,however in our own country eye contact is limited between genders particularly Rajasthan and even Gujrat in rural areas but the essence of eye contact is verybeautifully described by Kalidas in Meghdoot which has no parallel

  2. Very interesting article on ” Eye contact ” madam and the way you have written the article really very beautifully placed, i truly agree that eye contact is way more intimate than words can ever be. Thank you madam for writing such a beautiful article really I liked it. madam I pray for your good health and long life, Ameen. so that people like you are needed desperately for this society and nation.

  3. Dr Hattangadi is a born educator and marketeer,inspite of having PhD and D. Lit degrees to her credit she is extremely humble and always willing to share her thoughts.
    The best part about her is this that she is realising the challenges of the higher education in India and i think her articles in the blog speak louder and better than me writing about Dr Hattangadi.
    Randhir Lamba

  4. eye contact …holds a significant value in the lives of ppl as no activity between ppl is possible except for talking over the phone….eye contact not only reflects confidence but alertness or presence of mind.let me quote an example ..while purchasing veggies from grocer or when in class caught while doing mischief …every action shows either alertness or presence of mind.besides eye contact helps in arising a desire….when one goes for shopping we make eye contact with the mannequins dressed beautifully we look at them and a desire to buy /weight loss etc automatically arises .really enjoyed reading it..

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