When I was growing up and my mother wanted to “point out the error of my ways”, I remember that she often prefaced her no doubt well-intentioned words of advice with: “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”
Depending on how much I wanted to hear her “words of wisdom”, especially if I disagreed with her or was embarrassed because I had been caught out in some way, I must have often looked away because the other phrase I remember was: “Don’t you turn away when I’m speaking to you!”
Why is it that, in our culture at least, we want people to look at us when we are making a point? When I am presenting at a meeting, conference or a workshop, I know that my amygdalae, our ‘fear factory’, are quick to generate a feeling of concern that I may have lost someone’s interest if I see them looking out the window, staring at their fingernails or into space.
But is there another explanation? [Read more…]