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How to look people in the eye
How I did it: My father told me that I don't look people in the eyes and it is unsettling as it looks as though I'm not interested, paying attention, etc. This was hard to hear but true. In fact, my mother's side of the family has this issue where people don't look at each other due to bad esteem and habits formed.
Anyway, I made it my resolution for 2011 that I would look others in the eye, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. At first it was uncomfortable since I thought they were judging me or somehow seeing into my soul but I realized I was just into my own head and had to turn off that voice.
The more I did it, the more I realized I was connecting with people and getting better communication and reactions. I also noticed that my career was improving and it was easier for me to make friends and contacts in the process (the networking kind not the stick-in-your-eyes kind).
I told myself I wouldn't consider this done until someone commented on it, and fortunately my friend Charlton noticed that I have really been more connected lately and been looking people in the eyes. I showed him and told him of my goal and he was impressed. I feel good that this finally paid fof because now it's second nature (the ONLY time I don't look people in the eyes is when I'm so angry with them that looking at them would make it worse...hey nobody's perfect)
Lessons & tips: Announce your goal to others whom you trust
Get daily reminders from 43things. I didn't think it would help but it really did!
Notice how the reactions and the quality of conversations you experience usually improve and you feel more connected - as well as more confident. This didn't happen overnight but was a gradual process at least with me.
I noticed when people looked away and spoke it was confusing and awkward, I could see that they lacked self confidence and realized that's how I looked when I acted that way. It's a good way to realize that's not how I want to appear so try to use their mistakes as a barometer of your improvement - maybe you can even mention it gently to them to help them and/or make them aware of it.
Watch speeches, debators, politicians, and even great movie scenes - all of them have direct eye contact which is vital. Even at the grocery store the better cashiers are the ones who look you in the eye and greet you vs the ones who act perfunctory and mumble.... you'll literally see a world of difference the more conscious you are about this action.
Resources: 43things.com - seriously, I had my email every day send me notices to look people in the eye. Sure I deleted it but it still got me thinking about it.
Feedback from my father
Announcing my goal to others
5 year plan (it's on this year's)
Noticing how awkward it is when someone doesn't do it to you - then you realize my God that's how I look(ed) to other people, I don't want to do that anymore!