A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Podium Point Eight: The eyes have it...

Creepy, huh?!
The eighth podium point is eye contact.

Eye contact is all about balance. Too little and you seem disconnected from your audience. Too much and, well, its just skeeves everyone out.

As young speakers, my charges are slaves to their documents when they speak. It makes complete sense. They are learning how to stand, how to speak, how to sound while they speak, ... at the same time they are processing words into language. That's a lot to take in and manage.

One of the suggestions we make for them that I have taken up is writing in my speech or remarks moments where I want to intentionally look up. If I know I am going to look up there, I tend to memorize the words before and after so it looks seamless.

The value of eye contact is, well, invaluable. It shows confidence. It shows a connection to the audience. It shows that you are prepared.

The power of our eyes can't be denied. Just look at this article from Forbes magazine. Even the gaze of rabbit on a cereal box is powerful.

One of my favorite characters on television right now is Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren from Orange is the New Black. Uza Aduba, the actress who plays her completely gets how powerful one set of eyes can be. She uses her to craft a complex and fascinating character. (For the record: I would never, ever, suggest kids my student's age watch Orange is the New Black. Never. Ever. Ever.)

The Wall Street Journal reported that about a study that found that eye contact in casual conversations is on the decline as the result of SMART phones. It also has some solid metrics about how often one should look someone in the eye and for how long, as well as cultural considerations.

Source: New Yorker Magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment