The joys of peripheral vision

I’ll always remember my mother for one thing. Her third eye at the back of her head. She could see what was going on around her and had terrific peripheral vision and as a mother bringing up three boys, this is an essential attribute.

Having peripheral vision is an extremely useful skill to master if your job is to deal with people and over the years, I’ve come across some real practical uses for this talent. Let me explain 

If you need to do presentations in your business, doing peripheral vision has two huge advantages.  Firstly it allows you to be aware of the audience en masse.  You can gauge reactions of people along the left side of the room whilst you’re maintaining eye contact with the people on the right. Peripheral vision will encourage you to give eye contact to everyone, which you simply have to do to engage an audience.

Secondly, intensifying your peripheral vision before you start your presentation can actually reduce your nerves.  This is a little known trade secret but intensifying our peripherals can literally trick the brain into stop being nervous.  Cool.

In a sales situation, it can also be useful.  When addressing a group of people in a business to business situation, you can keep an eye on the key decision makers whilst addressing the other people in the unit thus ensuring everyone is with you.

If you’re selling in retail to a couple, say husband and wife, address the wife but use your peripheral to ensure you engage with the husband as well. Peripheral is useful to maintain eye contact but keep an eye on distinguishable body language as well.

In customer care, when you’re operating a till or queue of customers, you can use your peripheral vision to keep an eye on the queue of people waiting and their impatient reaction. That way you can use the reassuring comment “I’ll be with you very shortly”.  There’s nothing worse than being totally ignored by the customer care person who is too intent on the person they’re dealing with.  Of course they should concentrate on tem, but a quick smile or acknowledgement of you can go a long way in reassuring that you’ll be dealt with soon.

Convinced?  I’m sure you are, but how can you exercise your peripheral vision muscle?  Easily. Every now and then, when you have a spare moment, fix your view on a spot somewhere in the distance, blur your eyes and focus on your sideways vision.  Try and stretch a little more every time and after a while you’ll become a natural.  Practice does make perfect.

One day technology might help us out. Whilst searching the web for reading glasses, I stumbled across a brand new invention. Tiny mirrors built into the frame so you can see behind you. And I also read at the weekend, how police at the 2012 London Olympics will have face recognition cameras built into their sun glasses, to spot suspected terrorists.  Wow. However no one can replace my mother’s legendary third eye.