One of the most difficult things I find while working with men is exercising this:
“Say to the believing men that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste). Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste)…” This is better for them.”an-Nūr (the Light), Chapter 24, Verse 30.
While I’m all for this, because it’s such a menace in our society, but doing it in official meetings? The other day I was in a session where every time the guy who was leading the meeting, talked to me, he would start looking down at his desk. While some women would find this respectful but in a business meeting? He was addressing me directly and it seemed rather odd that he wasn’t looking at me.
Eye contact does not only depict a person’s confidence but is essential for effective communication. While I’m strongly against “checking out” members of the opposite sex during professional encounters (or for that matter in any encounter), avoiding eye contact with them altogether is also wrong. If I speak for myself, it makes me feel unimportant. It also makes it difficult for me to connect with what the person is saying. Whenever we want to get someone’s attention we wait for them to look at us. Remember how the teacher always told us to pay attention whenever we weren’t looking their way? It’s exactly the same in vocational engagements.
In professional settings, maintaining eye contact is a sign of confidence, being sociable and respectful. It’s also a means of linking with the other person to understand what they’re saying and I believe it must be exercised by everyone.