It’s All in the Eyes

February 1, 2012

Kate Carpenter, a contributing writer for the Keynote Connection blog, is serving as an intern with Keynote.
[From time to time we’ll post about various resources we recommend. We hope you will find them helpful as you seek ways to honor God with your labor, influence, finances or expertise (L.I.F.E.).]
I used to work as a summer camp counselor and my campers thought I was amazing because I could always tell who was lying to me. I owe it all to eye contact. The kid with shifty eyes and dirty fingers was probably the one who was making mud pies during lunch. On the other hand, when someone has made intentional eye contact with me, say from stage at a concert, I felt like I could trust that person. That’s the sweet result of good eye contact: the person you’re talking to feels valued and a bridge of trust is built.

They say “the eyes are the windows of the soul”, and I think they’re right. We communicate so much nonverbally through our eye contact or lack of eye contact. That’s why eye contact is the subject of one of the sessions of Keynote’s Comm Lab. Comm Lab is a four-day communication training seminar that focuses on equipping and coaching people to communicate effectively to their audiences. For some people, the audience in question is a room of 100 people. For others, it’s the friend sitting across from them at Starbucks.

Whether your audience is 100 or one, when you’re sharing your faith, you can learn a lot from my camp counselor experience. You don’t have to drill a hole into the back of your friend’s head, but you do have to meet his eyes when you’re saying something of significance. Otherwise, he may not believe you mean it. (Or, worse, he may not believe he matters to you.) But, by making the extra effort to meet his eyes, you can show your friend that you value him.

When it comes to showing people you mean what you say, the quality of eye contact can communicate value or deception. But it’s not the only type of nonverbal communication out there. If you want to learn about other factors that affect how our words are perceived, be sure to check out Comm Lab. You can learn more here.

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