Read My Body Language – The Eyes Have It

I love you (American Sign Language) - 1

Have you ever gotten or given “le look”?

We often use these French-English words as a cue from the eyes to be mindful of what someone is thinking.

If you were to watch a signer (an interpreter who communicates with the deaf), you will see a lot of facial expressions. A mute person will communicate using all parts of their body, including their eyes.

For sighted people, vision dominates a conscious experience.

Imagine being in the forest in the dark. All you can see are trees and shadows, but a rich panoply of sounds will tell you what’s going on around you. Although speech is perceived through our ears, what we see can also influence what we hear.

In the workplace, understanding how the eyes communicate can help with focused attention and monitoring the environment.

The Eyes Have It

People give a great deal away through their eyes. When combined with body position, the eyes will provide a more accurate translation of body language.


Sideways: Looking sideways means someone is conjuring sounds. Right, is associated with imagination, and may mean a story. The left is accessing memory.

Looking to the left: Eyes in this direction can mean someone is remembering something. Combined with a downward look, it indicates self-communication. When looking up, it means facts are being recalled.

Looking to the right: Looks to the right indicate imagination. It can mean guessing or lying. Combined with looking down, it means there is a self-question. Combined with looking up, it can mean lying.

Direct eye contact: When speaking, this means sincerity and honesty. When listening, it indicates interest.

Wide eyes: Widening eyes signal interest.

Rolled eyes: Rolled eyes mean frustration. They can be considered a sign of hostility.

Blinking: Frequent blinking indicates excitement. Infrequent blinking signals boredom or concentration, depending on focus.

Winking: A wink is a friendly gesture or secret joke.

Rubbing eyes: Rubbing eyes may be caused by tiredness. It can also indicate disbelief or being disturbed.

Eye Contact

The eyes are called the “windows to the soul.” They continually communicate feelings. A person’s eye contact can betray that they are being deceptive.

The Eyes

Little to no eye contact: A complete lack of eye contact may be an indication that someone is nervous and deceptive, but it is not always an indication of lying.  There could be cultural reasons for this behaviour, so always be aware of any outside factors.

Looking to the left: Moving the gaze to the left may indicate deception. It signals the imagination is being engaged. Left-handed individuals will shift their eyes to the right.

Unmoving eyes: Some people who lie can look directly ahead without moving their eyes. They will not always shift their gaze or look away.

Whether in sales or management, it is essential to “see” the body language of others and exactly what your face is communicating.

Words from the Wise:

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “When the eyes say one thing, and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”

Find out more in the first two installments of this series: Head Position and Hands Speak.