The Listening Gap Between Sight and SoundWritten by Catherine Franz
The truth is there is a gap between sight and hearing, between visual and auditory, between seeing and believing. And fact is that this gap creates a billion dollar industry. Improving communication has billions of books on how-tos sitting on shelves and training services galore. And topic keeps on selling.
People push themselves to improve their verbal and writing skills as a prediction to their increased success. How many have asked question that Dr. Stephen Covey continually reminds us to ask, "Is it S.M.A.R.T.?" That is, is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. If you use SMART as a measurement, fact is, it doesn't work. Is great communication achievable and realistic? Is it SMART?
We want to believe so. We want to hope so. We want so badly to stand up in front of millions and say something as wisely as, "I have a dream...." Or simpler, we say something wise to our children or friends. Yet, have you ever asked if this was even possible? Martin Luther King didn't write this speech all by himself and possibly didn't even create phrase first. Yet we assume it to be. Based on our personal growth with sight and sound since nee we assume we can do it all alone, all by ourselves. Has any wise communication ever really been written all by one person? Not usually. There also seems to be at least a spiritual hand.
Did you know that we see things at 1,086 miles per second and we hear at 1,100 feet per second? Our culture is speeding up because itís crafted a "seeing is best" mindset. Television, Internet, movies, list goes on. If visual world is communication, then is it based on visual alone? It seems to be going in that direction, doesn't it?
The truth is that never two shall meet -- seeing and hearing. They are too far apart in spectrum. In order to hear, truly hear, one must slow down to what seems like a baby crawl in comparison to speed of light and our sightís reflection.
Yet, it takes two to fully understand communication does it not. Not sure, then that is correct. How would visually impaired or hearing impaired communicate then?
What is speed of feeling? Is it faster or slower than light or faster or slower than hearing? Is it measured by feet or by miles? No one knows, I don't think. Its never been quantitatively tested, at least anywhere I could find. Yet can it be? If you would measure feeling, what would that be? Maybe in nanoseconds. Feeling is instinctive and touch is a sense. Then is feeling a sense as well? Or are they both same? What is different between feeling and hearing? Can we define its difference?
Do you sit and watch television with a sense of touch or smell? Not at least from my blurb tube you can't. Did you ever think of hearing a television program? Of turning your back to box and watching show? Why not? Why not try it and feel this exact disconnect, this gap, that I'm talking about. Strain your ears to hear. Learn again what it means to hear.
Look 'Em in the Eyes: The Real Power of Eye ContactWritten by Debbie Bailey
"At that moment when our eyes are locked in silent communication, we are, in essence, touching." -Debbie Bailey Besides touch (not really an option in a presentation setting), eye contact is most powerful and personal of all of presentation delivery cues. When you look an audience member in eyes, for those few seconds, you are talking directly to him/her. Why is eye contact so powerful? Good eye contact cuts physical distance in half, helps you connect with your audience on a personal level, invites audience members to participate in your presentation (if I look at you long enough you WILL talk), enables you to gauge your audience's reaction to your presentation, stops hecklers from pestering you, and so much more.
The fact is, when you look someone directly in eyes, it is as if you are standing much closer to him/her. In a presentation setting, close is good. The closer you are, more immediate you are, thus harder you are to ignore. Think about it from audience's perspective-it is much easier to tune out a presenter who is farther away from you (I can't see you, you can't see me). Because audience members seated closest to you will have best experience anyway, use your good eye contact to move yourself physically closer to audience members seated in back of room.
Your eye contact also provides you with valuable feedback about how audience is receiving your message. Approval, confusion, excitement, hostility, frustration, and many other emotions are all expressed through your audience's body language. Eye contact will help you read and react to silent messages your audience is sending you about their understanding, their likes, and their dislikes so you can determine what to reinforce, review, hurry through, etc.
There is definitely an art to making good, strong eye contact. The best eye contact is direct and sustained-lasting 4 to 5 seconds per audience member. That is MUCH longer than most people think. In fact, inexperienced presenters often make mistake of glancing quickly around room without holding eye contact for any length of time. Their eye contact appears to bounce from person to person.
Instead, look at each audience member until you see him/her silently acknowledge you before moving on to someone else. This will help you forge a much greater connection with each individual in your audience.
Be aware that most presenters show eye contact favoritism. This means that they look at certain people in audience more than others. Research indicates that we tend to look at audience members who give us most positive feedback and also people with most authority (i.e. CEO in room). While it is confirming to look at people who are enjoying our presentation ("they like me they really do"), make it a point to look at everyone as equally as possible. Audience members who don't feel that you are talking to them (as demonstrated by your lack of eye contact) will have tendency to tune out. And as for looking at people in power, remember, they are watching you to see how you treat others in their organization. The best way to demonstrate your fairness and respect is through eye contact equality.