Body language is created by how you feel, your emotions. If you try to control your body language, or voice tone by themselves, and if they don’t match how you really feel, you’ll look forced, you won't come across as authentic.
What is in your eyes is THE most important “body language” you have. Your eyes communicate your innermost feelings. It's all about the way you look at the other person or, if you're talking to a group, how you look at your audience.
You can think about how the way another person looks at you makes you feel, how important it is, not just THAT they look at you, but HOW they look at you.
If you're not feeling confidence, you're not going to look at anyone with confidence. If you try to fake it, it will look like you're straining. If you're really afraid, you'll have a hard time looking at anyone at all.
The rest of your body language is incidental to what is in your eyes.
Many people have said they've been told that when their arms are crossed, they look “defensive”. But I've seen plenty of people with their arms crossed, who have a warm look in their eyes, their eyes telling me they're clearly interested, open and paying attention, they don't look defensive at all. The arms are incidental.
In short, the eyes have it. As one of our ETS coaches says,
It’s amazing how much the eyes communicate when they are actually meant for seeing.
One of the biggest things that’s going to influence what’s in your eyes is whether your attention is on yourself, or what you’re going to say, or whether your attention is FULLY on the other person.
Self-consciousness literally means too much attention on self.
Too much attention on yourself, on what you’re saying or on the outcome you want, messes with your eyes.
I just delivered a workshop on presentation skills where a big issue for participants was learning the art of NOT thinking and talking at the same time, not planning what to say next, but gaining the ability to put all their attention on their audience and deliver the full impact of their communication directly.
Many people think you have to know your material, and what you're going to say, extremely well before you're able to do this, but it's not true. It's a matter of practice, and even people who know their material very well need to practice keeping their attention on the audience.
Having a strong intention to communicate drives out self-consciousness and this can be seen in your eyes.
The affinity you genuinely feel (or don’t feel) for the other person or persons also shows in your eyes.
When you have your attention fully off yourself, and you have a strong intention to communicate, and you have genuine affinity for your audience, your eyes will captivate and the rest of your body language will fall into place. This is true whether you’re talking 1-to-1 or 1-to-many.
In the workshop I just finished last week, there was a gentleman who learned to take his attention off of planning what to say next and put it squarely on the audience. As he did so, his hand gestures became powerful and brilliant. I never coached him on his hand gestures and he didn’t even notice them until I pointed out how great they had become. I coached him on what was going on inside him, and when this was all straight, his hands knew exactly what to do. As he spoke with strong intention and great affinity for the audience, they said he came across as a Commander.
A very powerful woman was in the workshop. Powerful until she got up to speak. She was constantly focused on what to say next and her eyes were flitting around. However, when she learned how to put her focus on the audience, her eyes really connected with the individuals, her full power came out in a blaze of glory. She now touches your mind and also your heart.
I also had a very polished speaker in the workshop, one who has won many awards for a variety of communications. His presentation was very interesting and in the beginning he was more interested in it than he was in the audience. As he shifted his focus from what he was saying to the people he was talking to, he went from “interesting” to absolutely riveting.
One participant was very nervous and really couldn't look at the audience at all. When she tuned into the audience, and really experienced them, her eyes lit up with enjoyment. The audience called her delightful.
Authentic goes both ways.
For sure you want to be authentic with the other person, but the first person you want to be authentic with is you.
That is why you want to tap into that source of confidence within you, your intention, and your natural affinity for people. Tap into it and FEEL it. Then you are authentic to yourself and you will be authentic to the rest of the world too.
Your eyes will captivate.
If you need any extra help with this, feel free to email me with any questions you have. I’m more than happy to help you captivate your audiences.
Causative [kaw’-zuh-tiv], adjective: Making what you want HAPPEN. Being able to cause your intended effect or outcome at will.
If you're serious about your goals, our workshops and coaching will give you the tools and skills to achieve them.
We know they work because we’re swimming in client success stories. They got the promotion, conflict evaporated, the other person changed completely, their vision is spreading throughout the organization, they closed the $400 million deal, they are enthralling audiences, receiving standing ovations and their teenager’s talking to them.
Most people live their entire lives with this power lying dormant inside of them. You don’t have to be one of them.
The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume the cause role in your communications.
Be the cause!