Friday, November 11, 2005

The Eyes Have It

In my cruise ship lecture about the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon TV Presidential Debates, I
noted that Nixon--according to observers--made the mistake of looking at the panel members who questioned him, rather than looking at the camera. Kennedy, on the other hand, looked into the camera, so viewers would think he was talking with them directly and individually. Several writers believe this subtle difference helps explain why Nixon seemed the victor on radio, while Kennedy scored higher among the TV audience.

In fact, throughout his career, Nixon earned the description "shifty-eyed," not a complimentary reference.

Frequently, social scientists identify lack of eye contact as an indication of dishonesty. So when you are doing any of the following, make sure you maintain eye contact with your listener or listeners:
Selling a product or service
Reporting on what you have accomplished
Telling someone how much you care
Saying why you should get a raise or promotion

In Cicero's words, "The eyes are the windows to the soul."

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