The Eyes Have It

When will politicians ever learn the importance of effective communications?  Despite their access to professional staff, speechwriters and communications coaches, the majority of politicians get a failing grade in communications skills.  Perhaps it is just plain arrogance.  I call it ignorance.

Exhibit A – Representative Dennis Hastert.  Dennis – in the House of Representatives the “ayes” have it when it comes to voting. However, in communicating your message it's all about the “eyes.” 

Is it possible that nobody on your staff has told you that it is important for you to look into the eye of the camera during your news conferences?  You are telling your story to the American people who are watching you on television, in print media or on their computer.  We need to be able to look into your eyes to learn the truth.  Don't look down – that, in itself is telling us something!  Don't look at the reporters and camera crews in front of you – look into the camera!  We do not listen to what you are saying;  we form our impression (mostly unfavorable) from what you are saying with your body language.

Regardless of what the facts are, most people get the impression that you are hiding something.  People who are afraid to make direct eye contact usually have something to hide.

This is all so preventable!  Dating back to the 1960 Presidential debate between Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy, politicians have heard how important visual communications are in communicating your message.  Interestingly, a poll of potential voters who only heard that debate on the radio felt that Nixon won.  They couldn't “hear” the image of the “5 o'clock shadow” – but the television audience clearly saw that .

If you want your audience to connect with you and you want to gain their trust you must make direct eye contact.  In his excellent book, “10 Simple Secrets of the World's Greatest Business Communicators,” Carmine Gallo says: “Eye contact is associated with honesty, trustworthiness, sincerity, confidence.”

Also in his book, Gallo tells the story of Governor Howard Dean's thoughts about why his campaign for the Presidency failed.  Dean said, “I needed some serious media training.  I did it on the job but could have saved myself a lot of hassle if I had done it earlier.”

DUH!  Representative Hastert – are you listening?





Share and Enjoy:
  • Add to favorites
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Technorati
  • Print
  • email
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Orkut
  • SphereIt
  • Sphinn

Speak Your Mind