3 Ways to Use the Viral Triangle Method to Your Advantage

March 2, 2023

7 min read

Two Asian women with long, black hair stare at each other, smiling

Avoiding awkward eye contact when you talk to people isn’t always easy. But the triangle method can help.

Eye contact is critical when you’re giving a speech, in a job interview, on a first date, or testifying before a grand jury. In other words, all the time.

But, awkward eye contact is a thing, right? You might feel like you’re staring with an intensity that belongs in a police interrogation. Perhaps you’re afraid your gaze will come across as all starry-eyed romantic when you’re just trying to update your boss with the latest progress report.

A fixed stare isn’t the answer. Neither is looking away. Learn what the triangle method is, how it works, and why you should use it.

What Is the Triangle Method?

Essentially, the triangle method is a way to make “normal” eye contact with someone without intense or creepy staring. It’s an excellent way to avoid awkward eye contact while still making a positive connection and expressing respect and confidence.

How to Use the Triangle Method

Imagine a triangle. Now imagine it on someone’s face. The base of the triangle spans from their right eye to their left eye. The triangle’s point is between their brows or mid-forehead. (Yes, this is how Pythagoras saw people, obvs.)

Now, focus on one of their eyes. Then, follow the triangle’s base across to focus on their other eye. Next, follow the triangle upward to focus on the area of their brows or mid-forehead. Hold your focus for a few seconds in each spot. Body language expert Sharon Sayler refers to the duration as a “long glance.”Repeat the process throughout the conversation.

If you need a visualization:

What Is the Triangle Method - How to Avoid Awkward Eye Contact - professional vs personal

This is called the professional triangle method. There’s another variation — called the personal triangle method — that’s best for flirting.

The personal triangle method

To practice the personal triangle method, flip the triangle over. Imagine an upside-down triangle. Now imagine it on someone’s face. The base of the triangle spans from their right eye to their left eye. The triangle’s point is on their mouth. (Yes, this is how Euclid saw people, obvs.)

Now, focus on one of their eyes. Then, follow the triangle’s base across to focus on their other eye. Next, follow the triangle downward and focus on their lips. Hold your focus for a few seconds in each spot (a “long glance”). Repeat the process throughout the conversation.

Just like the professional triangle method, this will become automatic with practice. Similarly, it’s fine to get off the triangle loop and look away briefly now and then.

I know what you’re thinking. This is supposed to be about making conversations less awkward. And, this seems awkward. Fear not. With a bit of practice, this method will become second nature, and you’ll do it automatically.

Don’t feel like you need to keep th method going nonstop. It’s natural and good to look away briefly at times. Usually, this coincides with gathering and organizing your thoughts, which is always a good idea.

How to Use AI to Perfect the Triangle Method

The triangle method is easy to use. However, a little practice goes a long way. You can use AI to perfect your use of this method through Yoodli.

Yoodli is an AI-powered conversation coach that allows you to not only see your individual speaking and speech data, but also to improve your conversation skills. It tracks everything from your eye contact to your word choice and filler word usage.

Practicing the triangle method with Yoodli couldn’t be easier.

As a conversation coach, Yoodli gives you personalized (and actionable) feedback on how you can improve. All you have to do is choose a conversation topic — which can be a simple as “small talk” — and an AI-generated speech partner. This can be a coworker, friend, or even a stranger. It’s totally up to you.

A screenshot of Yoodli's conversation coach, which you can use to practice the triangle method
Get comfortable using the triangle method by practicing your eye contact with Yoodli.

You can even choose the speech partner’s personality. It’s that easy.

3 Ways to Use the Triangle Method

There’s an endless amount of ways to use this method, both professionally and in your personal life. Here are the top three ways to use the triangle method to your advantage.

1. Using the triangle method at work

You can leverage the triangle method in any workplace, regardless of the industry you work in. From food service to content marketing and healthcare, this technique can be used to benefit your communication.

At work, you can use it too build real connections with your coworkers and to start conversations. It’s especially helpful in meetings. If you happen to work in sales, even better.

Using the triangle method when speaking to potential clients can make them trust you more and show that you’re an active listener. It improves the natural engagement during a conversation and can lead to a successful sale or pitch.

You can also use the triangle method in job interviews. It can give you a little bit of leverage against other applicants. That’s because it shows you have a genuine interest in the conversation with your interviewer (and they’ll remember that).

Similarly, you can use this method for networking, too. It shows your confidence and attentiveness and, again, helps people remember you in a positive light.

2. Flirting with the triangle method

The personal triangle method is considered to be flirtatious. The potentially seductive nature of the personal triangle method is evident in the way it differs from the professional method: the trip that your eyes take to their lips.

The benefits of using this technique are that it’s playful and subtle (perfect for people who might be feeling a bit shy when it comes to their love interest). It also helps you build rapport with the person and shows that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

In fact, the triangle method went viral on TikTok because of its effectiveness when it comes to flirting.

So, if you intend to flirt, this technique is for you. Otherwise, you might want to skip the lips and stick with the professional triangle method. Again, it’s all about avoiding the awkward. Your body language, speech, and general demeanor all together communicate your overall message and intentions.

3. Using this technique for public speaking

Not surprisingly, the triangle method is also useful for public speaking, even if you’re speaking to a large audience. The only difference is, your subject will change every so often.

To use this technique when public speaking, aim to make eye contact with a few people in the audience. When you do this while speaking to a crowd, you can keep them interested and engaged longer. It also adds to your executive presence.

Why Is Using the This Method Important?

You know what it’s like when someone you’re conversing with doesn’t look at you “enough.” It might seem as though they’re not listening or interested. Perhaps you feel like the conversation doesn’t matter much—or that you don’t matter much.

Let’s say that you’re interviewing someone for a job and they don’t make much eye contact. That can make them come across as though they don’t have much self-confidence or that they’re not taking the process seriously.

Regardless of the situation, eye contact is important. So, consider the triangle method to be a must. That’s because avoiding eye contact and awkward eye contact aren’t good options. Good, appropriate eye contact is the goal, and the triangle method can get you there.

Why is eye contact important? When you’re talking to someone, it makes a big difference whether or not you’re actually connecting with them. Eye contact is a major part of that connection. It shows likability and warmth, and communicates respect, interest, and self-confidence.

Practice your eye contact with the triangle method

Whether you’re speaking conversationally one-on-one or addressing a vast audience, eye contact is important for those reasons: connection, likability, trust, interest, and confidence. It’s a good idea to get a gauge on how much you use eye contact. It’s also wise to practice making eye contact and using the triangle method.

The Bottom Line

Eye contact is an important aspect of communication. But, it doesn’t just matter that you use it; it matters how you use it. The triangle method is an excellent way to make eye contact in a less awkward and intense way.

Here’s a quick summary of both triangle methods:

  • Professional: Focus on eyes and brows or mid-forehead
  • Personal: Focus on eyes and lips

Practice these techniques until they become second nature. Now you’re equipped to avoid awkward eye contact and connect in a more natural way.


Start practicing with Yoodli.

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