“The eyes are the window of the soul.” Old English proverb.
Beyond the power of words, the way you speak conveys what you mean. In the face to face conversations between human beings, the eyes and facial expression transmit at least half of the message. A person’s eyes communicate interest, care, anger, distrust, sincerity and a host of other mental states.
In the age of email and texts, so much of the potential for direct human exchange has been diluted. The opportunity of establishing dialogue between individuals diminishes when so much interaction takes places electronically. While opportunity may diminish, the importance does not.
Why is it important to establish dialogue?
When people speak to each other face to face, an expectation exists that one person wants to convey information and establish rapport. From the mundane activities of daily life to professional interactions, speaking effectively to someone else requires establishing a direct connection to an individual, a dialogue.
How important are the eyes in dialogue?
When we speak with someone our first instinct is to look at the other person’s eyes. Interest, mood, trustworthiness are some of the key features signaled by an individual’s eyes. Maintaining eye contact remains one of the universal fundamentals in establishing a relationship, whether meeting someone for the first time, interviewing for a job, or making a presentation.
What else besides the eyes is important?
We convey information about ourselves through facial expressions, body language and vocal features. How we say our words communicates almost as much as what we say. People expect to be “spoken to, not at.” Sometimes more meaning is conveyed in face to face interactions by how someone speaks, rather than the words spoken.
Can we lose the ability to speak to other people?
As a society, can we evolve to becoming poor communicators? With limited practice and opportunity, many teenagers and young adults today are less comfortable and capable of speaking with others, especially adults.
In my practice I have worked with students who think they interact well with their peers but have little skill in interviewing for jobs or presenting themselves in an articulate, mature manner. The first skill they need to learn is the importance of looking at another individual in order to create dialogue.
When we speak to people, if we want to express truth, sincerity and concern, we need to remember that we speak through the eyes as much as the mouth.
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