The Amazing Art of Listening With Your Eyes

People Matter - Listening With Your Eyes Listen With Your Eyes

Have you ever been in the situation where someone is talking to you, and they are looking over your shoulder?  They are looking to see if there is someone more important to whom they should be speaking? Head still but eyes flicker off to the right or left. Then they cut you off mid-sentence – “oh excuse me a minute, I’ll be back.”

And they never do.


It shouldn’t happen.

Unless, that is, they have a lazy eye, in which way they can’t do anything about it. Anything apart from that should as unacceptable as buying a box of donuts and hiding them in your bag so you so you don’t have to share them. Well, ok, that’s acceptable, but you know what I mean.

  • Giving the person in front of you focused attention when they are speaking is soul affirming.
  • Giving the person in front of you focused attention when they are speaking builds trust.
  • Giving the person in front of you focused attention when they are speaking raises the value of human dignity.

Giving focused attention says to the other person you are important to me. It matters. It matters enough to give you my whole attention. People matter. Encouragement personified is making those people around us, who are important, feel important. Nothing can do that better, or worse, than how we listen. We need a deeper type of listening; I call it listening with your eyes. Listening with your eyes means taking a moment to stop what we are doing and concentrate on the other person.

The opposite happens every day.

You walk into the office to discuss something with your manager. While you stand awkwardly at their desk, they never lift their eyes away from the computer screen in front of them.

It’s rude. It devalues people.

Half way through speaking to someone their phone alerts them to a text or Facebook post. Immediately they reach for the phone. They keep talking to you, but obviously, this post is more important to me than giving you my full attention right now.

Ok, it’s only another cat video update, where were we?

It’s rude. It devalues people.

Yes, it can be annoying. You are sitting in your office and need to finish the report and in they come again with a question that you’ve answered dozens of times before. It takes time to stop, focus your attention and listen. When we do stop and listen with our eyes and ears, it builds a connection, it builds trust and above all it builds a culture that people are important.

When people feel listened too, they are more inclined to value others opinions, others views and be open to new ideas and suggestions. The opposite is also true. People close down, get defensive and go on the offensive if they feel sidelined or ignored.

So why not try it? This week when someone talks to you, stop. Stop what you are doing. Stop checking the phone. Stop looking around the room, stop and focus on the face in front of you. Full attention.

Listen with your eyes.


Posted on by Peter Billingham in Blog Posts, Leadership, Uncategorized

About Peter Billingham

Leader, Learner, Speechwriter, Storyteller, Author. a.k.a. 'The Artful Speaker' Enjoy working on social action projects, Toastmasters, films & adventure travel.

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