Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You…
If you were born prior to the early 60’s and had any interest in music, you most likely remember the great Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. For those of you too young to know or too old to remember, the first 2 lines are
“You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off you”
We are also familiar with the saying “The eyes are the window to the soul”. The eyes reveal so much about what we’re thinking and depending on the eye contact or lack thereof, will produce wide and varied results in the social interactions.
For a television show, Body Language experts, Allan and Barbara Pease conducted an experiment using a dating agency. A selected number of men were told that their next date was well matched to them and that they should expect a successful date. However each man was told that his date had suffered an injury to one eye as a child and that she was very sensitive about it because the eye didn’t track properly. They were told we weren’t sure which eye it was but if they looked closely enough they would be able to pick it. Each woman was told the same story about her date and that if she too looked closely she would be able to spot the slow eye. On their dates the couples spent the evening gazing into each other’s eyes searching in vain for the “problem eye”
The outcome was that each couple reported high levels of intimacy and romance on their dates and the likelihood of the couple meeting again for a second date was 200% higher than the agency average!
As a speaker, it’s important to maintain good eye contact with your audience. This builds credibility and trust with our audience. The inability to make and maintain good eye contact with an audience indicates nerves, lack of confidence, lack of knowledge of the particular subject, withholding information or downright lying. In small groups it’s easy to make eye contact will all individuals. A different technique is required in larger groups. Standing back further and selecting points or individuals to look at gives the appearance your making eye contact with a larger group in that area.
We have all heard “Don’t trust them if they can’t look you in the eye” be wary, skilled, regular liars will have good eye contact. You’ll need to look for other signs to confirm your belief they are lying such as voice change and pupil dilation. Extended blinking can also be an indication of lying as well.
I’m sure we all have been at an event and met someone for the first time and you’re hoping you never meet them again and can’t wait to get away! Darting eyes from side to side, to the uninformed can look as if a person is scoping the activity of the room. However, it is in fact the brain searching for escape routes revealing a person’s insecurity about the situation. Most people are aware that looking away indicates a lack of interest in the other person and identifies our desire to run, we engage in more eye contact with the boring individual and to feign interest use a tight lipped smile. This is the same behaviour engaged by liars to appear convincing.
Where do you look? Building rapport.
Michael Argyle, a pioneer of social psychology and non-verbal communication found that when person A like person B, he will look at him a lot. This causes B to think A likes him so B will like A in return. In other words, in most cultures, to build a good rapport with another person, your gaze should meet theirs 60 to 70% of the time. This will also cause them to begin to like you. It’s not surprising, then that the nervous timid person who meets our gaze less than 30% of the time is rarely trusted. This is also why wearing dark tinted glasses in negotiations should be avoided as they make others feel your either staring at them or avoiding eye contact.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, body language can be culturally determined, so please, don’t assume that a particular gestures meaning in the western culture is the same in others!
Until next time…keep your eyes open!
My name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist
Bye for now.
TALK TO ANYONE, ANYTIME.
Do you ever feel awkward during conversations with work colleagues, clients or even acquaintances and family? Do you get a little anxious when you’re thinking about a party or a networking event that you really should be attending? Do you have a lack of confidence in these situations?
Well, don’t panic. Firstly, you are no orphan, many people feel uncomfortable while trying to form a connection but importantly there are some simple strategies to help you talk to anyone at any time.
Ask Meaningful Questions.
Sometimes the other person may be feeling exactly the same way. See if you can draw out conversation by asking questions that are open ended i.e. they require more than a yes or no answer. Instead of asking “Did you enjoy your recent trip?” try “Tell me about the best parts of your trip you recently took”. Also, ask them what they think about a topic or recent event.
Be Sincere in Your Interest in the Other Person.
Dale Carnegie said it well. “It’s much easier to become interested in others than it is to convince them to be interested in you.” When you’re engaged in conversation, be present, don’t be thinking about what chores you have to do or where else you need to be. Show a genuine interest in the other person and invariably, they’ll reciprocate.
If you’re about meet someone in particular, whether it’s a potential new client or an important networking connection, doing some research on that person will be extremely beneficial. Finding out their interests, likes and dislikes gives you plenty to talk about and at the same time topics to avoid! Research is so easy nowadays with social media. Linked In is a great tool as is Facebook. By the way, I’m not advocating on line stalking!!!
The saying goes, “It’s nice to be nice.” There is always a reason to say something nice, and no better way to attract the undivided attention of someone than to issue a genuine, flattering remark. It’s not hard to find something to compliment. Try appearance, clothes, hair or home just as a few suggestions.
This is one of my favourites. I read once, “You were given two ears and one mouth, use them in those proportions.” Listening is a real skill and a big part of successful communication is responding appropriately so how can you do that if you didn’t hear the previous comment? Another benefit to listening more than talking is you’ll probably learn something. After all, you already know what you know. “Whatever your grade or position, if you know how and when to speak, and when to remain silent, your chances of real success are proportionally increased”. Great words from Ralph C.Smedley.
Keep Up to Date With Current Events and Issues.
When it comes to one on one communication, it is better to know a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about one or two things. In fact, it’s often that people who have just one area of expertise and interest are the dullest conversationalists.
It’s ok to have some friendly banter and discussions but you need to avoid these turning nasty. Everyone is entitled to their view, you don’t have to agree with them. It’s generally a good rule to stay away from historically volatile subjects typically religion and politics. “I don’t agree with you but I’ll defend till death, your right to say it”. Evelyn Beatrice Hall. Also a great tool in avoiding debates is eliminate using but. But is one of the most powerful words in the English language. It completely negates everything the user said previously. “He is a good golfer but...” What you’re really saying he isn’t a good golfer at all! Use the more gentle and instead. “He is a good golfer and if he spent more time on the practice green he could be a great golfer”.
Use Humour and Smile
There is nothing more inviting than a warm, genuine smile. Smile when you meet and greet a person and it gets the interaction of to a great start. A natural, friendly smile will lighten up a conversation and make the other person feel comfortable, relaxed and so more likely to converse in an open and authentic way. Humour goes a long way, tasteful humour that is! Funny brief stories are a great way to build rapport. Potentially offensive and distasteful jokes you heard at a bucks party should be avoided as this could kill the conversation on the spot.
It’s been said your network equals your net worth. In context of this article, net worth is more than money. It represents experiences and human connection. In my younger years, I avoided uncomfortable situations like the plague! I refused to go events and parties either on my or where I didn’t know someone that would be there. I made a choice to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone and using these really simple hints changed my life.
I hope they have a positive impact on yours.
We look forward to your comments, feedback and any questions you may have to help you become not only a better conversationalist but a better speaker and communicator.
Until next week, my name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist.
PEEK A BOO…..I CAN SEE YOU!
For those who are actively looking for work as a result of recently losing their jobs, looking for a career change or looking for a job which offers promotion within their chosen field, one thing is common……all interviews are currently conducted via an online medium such as Zoom and unless you turn off your camera, surprise, surprise, they can see you! Just like in a face to face interview, you are being judged and assessed for your suitability for a role based on a number of professional and personal criteria and like it or not, humans are wired for bias.
So why then do people attend like they and the background are invisible? I hear stories of people attending in their active wear or looking like they have just woken up, the house looking like a pigsty and worse. The labour market is more competitive than ever before and as such, you need to make sure you control ALL the things you can control in your environment. You need to create the mentality that the interview is being conducted on YOUR home ground.
I’m not going to go into interview prepping, I’ll be speaking to a professional on my “A Cuppa with The Con Versationalist” program in the coming days but here are a few tips to make sure you make a good impression and improve your success rate.
Find a Quiet Spot
You want to be able to focus on the interview and the questions being asked so having a quiet spot is important. You don’t want the TV or stereo blaring in the background. Bad enough if you don’t hear the question but worse if you miss hear and answer the wrong question!
Present for your Zoom interview the same way you would attend a face to face interview. Make sure your hair is brushed, combed or however you wear it and ladies, if you would normally wear make up to an interview, wear if for this.
It amazes me how many people dismiss the value and importance of body language in an online interview. The fact is, it’s vital you use appropriate eye contact to create trust and build rapport. Here is a pro tip. Stand up. If possible, set up your device so you can stand up. The object is not so they can see you in body length, in fact you still only want to be seen as sitting but standing in your power pose increases your confidence by up to 25%. The body produces endorphins, serotonin and more.
Check the Lighting
The interviewer wants to get to know you on many levels. They are looking to see who the real you is. Make sure the lighting provides an accurate reflection. You don’t want to look like you’re in a dudgeon and you also don’t want the glare to blind them.
What’s In the Room?
So you have gone to the trouble to dress up, good lighting, remember the interviewer can see what’s behind you! Make sure the lounge room hasn’t got the empty pizza boxes and wine bottles strewn all over the room from last night’s party. If the quiet spot is your bedroom, tidy up your room. Make the bed and hang up the last 10 outfits that are scattered on the bed and floor. Here is another pro tip. Check your wall art. In a world of political correctness gone mad, what you find funny or artistic, someone may find down right offensive.
Make Sure the Other Members of the House Know.
You don’t want you house mate or the kids barging in during your interview. If you have little ones, get them looked after. Take the necessary steps to make sure you are not interrupted.
Do a Test Run
Your prospective employer will advise you of the particular platform they will be using to conduct the interview. Make sure you are familiar with that platform. It would be catastrophic if you could not connect and missed your opportunity. Practice with a friend or family member to make sure the lighting is right and you have the view that best suits you. Be professional. Preparation is key.
All the best with you interview and as always, I look forward to your feedback and comments.
Until next week, my name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist.
I’M MOVING ON
There is a saying which goes “It is what it is”. Some people use it as kind of a mantra to accept the situation, understanding they can’t change the situation but they can change their response and actions. Others loath it!
I’m pleased to report that I am part of the first group, mind you, it took me some time to get there. When I was younger, I would get consumed by the moment and overwhelmed with self-pity….. I felt so trapped. Having become involved with personal development for nearly 10 years, I learnt that the situation was not happening to me but indeed happening for me. There was a lesson in there somewhere, enter COVID-19.
We are barely a month into a level of enforced isolation never before seen in my lifetime. Businesses closed, mass unemployment and emotional stress off the charts. Much has been written and said about the virus, its origins and the endless amount of conspiracy theories but it doesn’t matter what your view is, it is what it is. As individuals, we can’t change the situation. We can certainly do our part to reduce the spread and hopefully get back to normal (whatever that will look like) sooner rather than later, but what we can do and what we have control over are our actions and thoughts in light of the circumstances.
To that end, I’m moving on! The last few weeks, my content has been about and revolved around the COVID-19 crisis we are all facing. It’s all been positive content regularly emphasising that this crisis WILL end, we don’t know when, but it will end. So for me now, my content will get back to my purpose and core message, and that is that improved communication skills will improve every area of your life. That’s not to say I’ll be like the ostrich with my head in the sand but I want and need to get back to delivering content that provides value for my readers and viewers for now and for later.
For now? I hear you say. Yes, for now!
And so, my valued reader, I’m moving on but all for the better. I hope you enjoy my content, tips and hints to help you become a better speaker, presenter and communicator for you, your loved ones, your friends and your future employer or business venture you undertake
As always, I value your comments and feedback,
My name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist.
Con is an accomplished and articulate speaker and presenter with over 25 years of high level sales experience.