My friends and family notoriously make fun of me anytime someone is proposing a toast because when it comes time to clink glasses, they know I’m going to insist they look into my eyes. Yes, I’m superstitious and was told shortly after it was legal for me to drink that failing to make eye contact during a toast would subject me to years of bad luck—not to mention invalidate the toast.
But my need to make eye contact when toasting is symptomatic of my desire for more people to make eye contact with me on a daily basis.
In client meetings.
In sales and training videos.
And of course, on stage and in the spotlight.
Maybe it’s our overreliance on hand-held devices. Or our socialization (particularly for us women) that makes us think it’s more important to have cool, wispy bangs that block our eyes than to pull our hair back so we can see and be seen. Whichever is the case, too many of us are not looking into the eyes of the people we are communicating with.
As a result, when we fail to be present with people by avoiding genuine eye contact (live or virtually), we:
- Suggest that we aren’t telling the truth.
- Project insecurity.
- Communicate that we don’t value others enough to see them.
- Build lukewarm connections.
- Bore people.
- Give other people permission not to be seen.
My call to action for you has never been simpler. Make more toasts!
Okay, I’m kidding. Adult beverages are optional. Childlike curiosity, wonder, and connection aren’t.
It’s time to commit to more eye contact!