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Podcast 170 – Eye Contact: Deception or Influence?

The New Year is here and your influence skills are more critical than ever.  You have heard enough about goals – so let’s focus on those persuasion tools.  Does your eye contact help you influence or does it trigger deception cues?  Are you reading your prospect’s eyes to adjust your presentation?  Let’s find out the power of your eyes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The eyes of men converse as much as their tongues.” The more common phrase we hear is “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” Through our eyes, we can gauge the truthfulness, attitude, and feelings of a speaker. Not making the proper amount of eye contact can have devastating results. Our pupils are one of the most sensitive and complicated parts of our body. They react to light, but they also respond to our emotions, revealing a variety of feelings.

Making eye contact can also convey love or passion. In a number of studies on eye contact and attraction, researchers found that simply looking into one another’s eyes can create passionate feelings. In one particular case, two members of the opposite sex who were complete strangers were found to have amorous feelings toward each other after merely gazing into one another’s eyes.   In another study, beggars were interviewed about their “tactics” for getting donations. Several of the beggars stated that one of the very first things they tried to do was establish eye contact. They claimed that making eye contact made it harder for people to pretend they hadn’t seen them, to ignore them, or to just keep walking.  Other studies have shown that public speakers who make more eye contact, use pleasant facial expressions, and incorporate appropriate gestures into their speeches have more persuasive power than speakers who do not.

What do we need to know about the eyes?

Sunglasses – Hide the eyes and arouse distrust

Avoidance of eye contact – Lack of confidence

Less than 50% eye contact – Insincere and distant

Increased eye contact – Starting to accommodate or acceptance

Rapid blinking – Resistance to what has been done or said

Extended eye contact – Anger, love or frustration

Pupils dilate – Interested, and receptive