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Found this article off og digg.com and was wondering what other person's take on this are?

http://www.smartmoney.com/print/index.cfm?printcontent=/esquire/index.cf...

Preston

Mark's picture

Preston-

I agree in principle. I can tell you, though, that pupil staring is not for the faint of heart, and I have found it to be the equivalent of an emotional stare. Many people feel disconcerted by it... which, in my opinion, is not ideal. I have used and mastered it, and still use it when I need it... but it's not my favorite eye contact behavior.

My favorite is to look "around" the eyes, to the facial muscles that move the eyes. But that's a 10 page article... just remember, the iris of the eye contracts. Other than that, the eyeball never changes. If you don't move away from the eyeball, you'll feel weird and so will your partner.

Truly, it is NOT the "eyes". It is what the other person is thinking and feeling. Eyes convey little, but eye "contact" conveys a lot.

Mark

akinsgre's picture

I've read that the incidence of Apsberger Syndrome (a mild form of Autism) is high in engineers.

It's been suggested to me that I may have a mild case of Apsberger (specifically because I have trouble with eye contact).

This obviously impacts my abilit to communicate effectively (I knew this long before manager tools).

Any suggestions on techniques to improve

Mark's picture

Greg-

I think the thing to keep in mind is that everyone else is struggling with this as well.

Two things: 1, think about keeping your eyes on the other person's FACE. I do this when I am tired, to keep me from not meeting my goal of getting to the eyes all the time.

2, use other skills to show you're paying attention. Take notes, respond verbally with affirmations, nod your head. You can do all this while looking down a good bit and still get a great deal of "credit" for being a good listener, while some who make good eye contact don't hear a word someone else is saying.

Mark

mjkuras's picture

[quote="akinsgre"]I've read that the incidence of Apsberger Syndrome (a mild form of Autism) is high in engineers.

It's been suggested to me that I may have a mild case of Apsberger (specifically because I have trouble with eye contact).

This obviously impacts my abilit to communicate effectively (I knew this long before manager tools).

Any suggestions on techniques to improve[/quote]

I was taught a long time ago that if you have difficulty making direct eye contact, simply focus on the bridge of the persons nose...it appears that you are looking directly in their eyes and makes you more comfortable.

Mike

willow's picture

What if you have one crooked eye? How do you make direct eye contact? I have an employee, who has a crooked eye. He is very funny, and cheery very personable and polite. But always tends to look down. Does not like to look people in the face even. Some would say they do not even know the color of his eyes. Others would say he is not interested, when the opposite it true. He is very interested, but has a complex. How do you look someone in the eye when you are afraid of how they will respond?

Mark's picture

First off, his condition is likely referred to as "lazy eye", which can be either constant or periodic/intermittent. There are treatments.

That said, there's nothing that can be done if he is so uncomfortable that he won't change his behavior. I respect his decision, and would be happy to work with him, and be his boss or direct. And, it's unlikely in today's world that he is as likely to be successful getting promoted with both his condition and his response to it.

Were I his boss, I would set an example of how to interact with him, and I'd talk with him about giving him feedback about his behavior (which I would clearly separate from his condition).

And I'd not take too kindly to staff who didn't follow my example of treating all with respect.

Mark

matto's picture

Willow-

A great post. I, like your subordinate have a slight 'lazy eye'. Medically speaking, there are two types: amblyopia or strabismus (misaligned eyes). The treatments differ, and most treatments are best at a young age. Needless to say, with rapid medical advancements there may be something around the corner. I'm a young guy - so I'm pretty optimistic.

I was given feedback about my tendency to look down, and infrequent eye contact by one of my former managers. This was the BEST feedback I could have ever received, AND changed my behaviour almost immediately. Ok, I must admit - I first thought it was a bit of a personal attack - and this was really my first REAL piece of feedback I have ever received, but it was effective in changing my behaviour.

I am also funny, cheerful, personable and polite - much like your subordinate. The difference, perhaps is that I have recognised it is a weakness and have now made a conscious effort to look people in the eye. Mark mentioned previously that "it's unlikely in today's world that he [your employee] is as likely to be successful getting promoted with both his condition and his response to it". My condition has not prevented me getting promoted. Every job I have had, I have been promoted within three to six months from commencing employment. WHY? - because I have responded to the condition. I have actually done something about it.

Give your employee feedback. It will work. Best of luck.

Matt

Mark's picture

Matt-

Well done, well said, well met.

Mark