Your Face Says More Than Just Words
By Harriet Meyerson
Entertainers and professional speakers know that the way to connect
with their audiences is through eye contact and facial expression. In your
personal and business life you can be more dynamic with facial and eye
WHEN YOUR EYES MEET – YOU BEGIN TO COMMUNICATE
"One of the most obvious aspects of behavior when talking to another person
is where you look. If you look directly at the person as you speak, it helps
to communicate your sincerity and to increase the directness of your message,"
state Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons, in the seventh edition of their best
selling book "Your Perfect Right, A Guide to Assertive Living.”
You may have experienced the frustration of talking to someone who was
reading the newspaper, and although he or she may have been able to repeat
every word you said, you did not feel heard. You may have felt slighted when
you were talking to someone at a school function that seemed to be scanning
the room looking for someone else. When you make an effort to look directly at
the people you are talking to, you show them respect, make them feel
important, and you create a more positive relationship with co-workers,
teachers and students.
What’s even more important, avoiding eye contact can make you seem sneaky,
guilty, bashful, or frightened. The common expression, “He couldn’t look me in
the eye,” is often used to describe the guilt of another person.
While using eye contact be careful not to stare, squint or blink your eyes
rapidly. It’s more natural to look away from time to time in a relaxed
YOUR FACE REVEALS SINCERITY
“Ever see someone trying to express anger while smiling? It just doesn't
come across. Effective assertions require an expression that agrees with the
message,” say Alberti and Emmons. If you are sending mixed messages, others
will believe your facial expression rather than the words you say. A forced
smile will come across as insincere. Tension can also be seen in your face
with a wrinkling forehead or a pursed or tight-lipped mouth. Rolling the eyes
and disapproving looks can have powerful negative effects on communication.
If you have to say something negative, take the time to sit down and have a
meaningful discussion with the other person, and your body language will
naturally become more congruent with your message.
On the positive side, if you are excited about something, don’t be afraid
to show it. When your face lights up, the energy you create is contagious and
spreads sunshine to others.
The bottom line is to pay attention to your eye contact and facial
expressions if you want others to pay attention to you.
About the author: Harriet Meyerson, president of The
Confidence Center, works with companies that want confident, loyal, and
happy employees, and with individuals who want the confidence they need
for success. Harriet is a member of the National Speakers Association and
the author of Fire Up Your Staff on a Shoestring Budget.
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