“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!” An elderly friend spoke with her eyes. I’d be chatting with her and suddenly I’d see disapproval, or felt as if I were being judged, by the way she shifted her eyes, rolled them a bit, or stared at me. I doubt if she knew her eyes had a negative effect on the way she communicated with people.
We know people who speak with their hands. The swinging of the arms, wringing of the hands, or the way they appear to be conducting an orchestra makes me want to take a step backward to avoid being clobbered. These gestures overshadow anything someone might be saying.
Public speaking coaches teach the importance of understanding body language while verbally communicating. The way we stand, especially if our arms are in a closed-off position, makes it appear the speaker is not engaging with his or audience.
A professional videographer captured an hour-long presentation I made. It was a humbling experience to watch it. “Is that really how I look and act?” I thought. I critiqued the way I presented myself, “Did I look too casual? Too stiff? Engaging?” It was a good experience—one everyone should do regardless if a public speaker or not.
Lord, help us see how we communicate through the eyes of those who see and hear us. Amen.