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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

CHAPTER 25

The Look-Aside

Speech is a mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he.

  -- PUBLIUS SYRUS

When you are the one doing the talking, the look-aside is a powerful communication technique. It is a casual glance to one side or the other of the listener's head, when you momentarily redirect your focus from the person's eyes to the side of the face. Look-asides should be done casually and intermittently. Never look above the listener's head, because that will convince the listener that there's something or someone distracting you. Frequent looks below the listeners' eyes will lead them to believe they might have food on their face or gravy on their clothes. Look-asides are not meant to give you the opportunity to look at other things or people; rather, they are there to release the listener from too much intensity coming from you. In one-on-one conversations, they are essential.

Your Tools for Charming Others

The next time you're speaking with someone for any period of time, practice shifting your gaze to his right or left ear, and then back to his mouth and eyes.

Make sure your look-asides are short, never for more than two or three seconds; otherwise you will look distracted. Remember that your objective is to maintain good eye contact without making the other person uncomfortable.

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