Things to know about eye contact (and “power gazing”). “Most people know eye contact is important, but they don’t know how to do it in the most powerful way possible,” Ganzekaufer says. “All eye contact is not created equal.” There are three main forms of eye contact, each of which covers a different zone of the face:
1. Social gazing: When your eyes shift between the other person’s eyes, nose and mouth.
2. Intimate gazing: Eye contact that drops down to the neckline.
3. Power gazing: When you look only at the eyes and forehead, never dropping below eye level.
Women often default to social gazing, even in professional settings. “That’s because they are taught appeasement in body language from a very young age,” Ganzekaufer says. “They’re told to get along with everyone, to be well-liked, so they begin using a gaze to signal warmth all the time—but this can undermine their power and authority in negotiations and interviews.” Men, on the other hand, often default to power gazing because they’ve been taught from a young age to succeed, to get ahead, to win. This can undermine their ability to connect or collaborate.
When it comes to business, shift to power gazing. When you’re in a professional interaction and want to be perceived as confident, smart, and a leader, you always want to power gaze. “Once you get friendlier with a client and are in their home, social gazing is fine,” Ganzekaufer says. “Just be aware of the difference and be purposeful with your gaze.”