I often think about the prophet Jeremiah’s call. In part, God tells Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1.8, NKJV). That was a meaningful reminder for me when I started out. Transformational leadership and communication is not for the faint of heart!
Communicators can’t help but notice people’s facial expressions (as long as you’re not buried in your notes). I try to have good eye contact with as many people as possible. I heard recently that there are three types of people: Engaged, Unengaged, and Actively Unengaged. I generally know who’s engaged and who isn’t, as well as those who are actively unengaged (some are more obvious than others!).
Several years ago, there was a great video making it rounds at pastors’ gatherings in our conference. The video was a presentation based on a book by Rosamund Stone Zander and her husband, Benjamin Zander, a symphony conductor, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life (see Ben’s more recent, free 18-minute TED Talk on music and passion).
A few months ago, I remembered one of the lessons from the video: Look for the shining eyes.
“Shining eyes” is a metaphor for listeners who are engaged in the presentation.
Pastor Mike Slaughter talks about going to Ginghamsburg (a plateaued, declining church, at the time) and looking for the people who were engaged. He transformed the church by equipping them and putting them in leadership positions.
When I prepare to communicate, and even while I’m communicating, I tend to think about those who are engaged and those who are (actively) unengaged. While I certainly want to convince those who are unengaged (more on that when I blog about Nancy Duarte’s book, Resonate), I especially want to focus on teaching, leading, challenging, and encouraging those who are engaged, those who have shining eyes!