Why You Must Not Keep Eye-Contact to Convince
• 1. Me: “Mike, what do you think about making & keeping eye-contact with people you talk to?”
• 2. Mike: “Pop, you always said it was critical if you want to influence & persuade.”
• 3. Me: “We all hate change, it creates fear & anxiety. Yet we know from observation that change is a constant in our lives. Conclusion: the latest research published in Psychological Science Oct. 2013, says, “Sorry, Eye-Contact in most situations creates Resistance and makes people defensive your point of view.”
• 4. Mike: “I like the idea that new proof allows the Scientists to admit they were wrong. It tells me to apologize and admit I was wrong too.”
• 5. Me: “Very sharp conclusion for a high school kid.
Now they are NOT saying in a pleasant conversation or with friends or family, to intentionally avoid looking them in the eye.
• Only when the person is your adversary, like a court case, or making a sales pitch, eye contact awakens subconscious Fight-or-Flight and anger neural networks.”
• 6. Mike: “I get it. It probably means the more they look in your eyes, the less they focus on your benefits & arguments, right Pop?”
• 7. Me: “Wow, that’s pretty damn smart. You’re on the dinero. When people already agree with you, eye-contact is great and reinforces empathy & mutual understanding.”

• 8. Mike: everybody hates to change their opinion, it’s human nature. It’s a battle of wits, and very Aggressive. It makes us want to fight back & say, “You cannot tell me what to do!”
• 9. Me: “The scientists didn’t explain the “Why?” as good as you, kid.”
• 10. Mike: “I think Eye-contact when you are convincing (influence & persuading) creates a Threat & Dominance.
That’s the last thing you want to happen in order to win.”
• 11. Me: “You force ‘unintended-consequences’ by staring in their face, and wanting them to make eye-contact. Gorillas, Chimps & Tarzan thump their Thymus & Attack to prove their individuality, right?”
• 12. Mike: “It even happens in the school-yard, and in professional sports, right Pop?”
• 13. Me: “If you ever become a politician, or have kids. It applies to parents especially. Don’t stare them down.”
• Professor Chen, the lead author, says, “Eye contact awakens ancient evolutionary tactics. It’s laying there in our DNA, at a subconscious & psychological level.”
• 14. Mike: “Thanks Pop, I needed that & intend to use it to become either a CEO or second-best, President of the U.S.”

P.S. “The faster you learn, the more you EARN. You SNOOZE, you lose.”

P.P.S. Abraham Maslow said: ”One can choose to go back to Safety, or forward toward Growth. It’s a constant choice between Safety & Growth. Fear must be overcome, again and again.”

See ya,

Copyright © 2013, Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Bernard Wechsler, director of education at www.speedreading101.org We teach a one-day-speedreading-workshop at Columbia University. You can take it At-Home too.
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