I realized some time ago that some aspects of my job when I encounter patients is either looking down at a chart or down at their feet, when I am taking x-rays.  I found that I was talking and listening to them and not even looking at them because my job duties had me doing other things at the same time.  I really wanted to improve on my communication skills to make my patient encounters the best that they could be.  I began by putting myself in their place so I could picture what they were seeing or rather what they were not seeing and then began changing my approach so that I could make eye contact, which is one of the most important key steps in having good communication skills.  By slowing down just a second or two and taking the time to address the patient with my questions or directions face-to-face and actually looking them in the eyes, I realized what I had been missing before, that connection where they could read me by looking at me also.  It took a little while to break the habit of looking down and writing during my encounters, but I have noticed that it means a lot to people when you look at them while asking questions and listening to their answers.  Eye contact can be a little awkward at first because you feel like you are starring, but with practice you start to relax and become better at it as it becomes a natural part of your people communication skills.   If you find yourself having a hard time making eye contact the link below has a few good steps to get you started.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2248969_make-better-eye-contact.html