Effective Communication: Connecting Beyond Words

You’ve heard it said over and over again: It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Body language (voice, gestures, and eye contact) are essential to effective communication and presentations. Those who present with energy and enthusiasm often have a greater impact on their audience. Most important and powerful is the quality of eye contact, which facilitates a connection between the speaker and the audience. This applies to animals too.

In a recently published study from Current Biology, researchers found that dogs were more likely to follow a person’s gaze after being greeted with direct eye contact and a high-pitched voice than with no eye contact and a lower pitched voice. This supports previous findings from a July 2011 study in Learning & Behavior that found that dogs are more likely to beg food from someone who looks at them than from someone who does not.

Eye contact, voice, and gestures represent more than just a stylistic choice. They help gain and sustain the attention of your audience, and are not solely limited to human behavior. They are basic animal instincts that can be linked to multiple species. To learn more you can read USA Today’s coverage of the study or read the abstract on Current Biology’s website.

Speaking that Connects