Saturday, March 06, 2010


Nothing is more frustrating and dispiriting than seeking acknowledgement and not getting it. You put yourself out there. You disclose a bout of your pure commitment and excellence for which goes way above the call of duty. And no one, not a soul, blinks.

Blinking is an involuntary response to aid the cleansing and protection of your eyes. On the occassion that something startles us, excites us, arouses something great in us, our eyes grow to take in more of the picture, exposing more of the eye surface for cleaning. Cold and naked our natural defences kick in and we 'blink'.

Blinking, along with enlarging our eyes, raising eyebrows, pupil dilation, and more all play a part of our non-verbal communication. Whilst we may not all be experts in identifying or deconstructing subtle aspects of our body language, we do in fact understand the language. We are all fluent in it. And what's more we understand it even if we can't hear what is being said.

A sea of dry eyes

Convincing an audience that you are worth blinking at when you speak has less to do with the announced action and more to do with the sum of all your actions.

If we expect someone to put on a good show, and they do, it's a good show. Has our state of mind for the performer changed? No.

If we expect someone to be a lousy performer, and they put on a good show our state of mind has changed. Blink and potentially applause.

These both suggest some awkward repercussions which I would resist, and the next few lines will be about varying your performance to elicit blinking, not to suggest you perform lousily or settle for mediocre.

To get someone to blink, you are essentially getting them to recognise something you are doing 'differently'. For example, if you work late nights and weekends all the time, saying that you will do something over the weekend is in no way different. What you are doing is 'normal'. To be appreciated for working overtime, this will need to be 'different'.

How do you create a difference when you yourself find what you do to be normal? Are you going to change to become less normal, bad even? No. And that is far from the suggestion. Instead what you need to do is change what normal is to something that remains a true reflection of who you are, but with room for continued recognition and appreciation.

Again, an implication here to be avoided is not to whine. Constantly seeking recognition. Here you are looking for natural and continually revalidated appreciation.

What you should hope to wanting your search for blinks is a storyline like a movie. It cycles through emotion, and continually rewards. You want others to see you as a valuable asset worth your attention, but with enough of an understanding that they'll be quick to reciprocate. They want to reward you.

To do this you have to be resolute in what makes you a good performer. And make certain that when this is challenged that you speak up about the effect a challenge will have on your performance. Only at the point that another recognises the request and impact do you offer to go further. It is at this point you will see the blink and your job of being appreciated, rewarded.