Why you and I look away to make a thoughtful response



My work often requires that I think carefully before I speak. Yes, yes, I know, we should all do that, but as we also know, some talk has more consequences than other talk.

And I do so like to think that my talk with clients is consequential. This is why I look away before I answer their questions. I learned long ago that looking away keeps stray thoughts at bay.

Yes, yes, I also know it is rude not to look at you when I speak to you, but I’m thinking, not speaking. And now research validates my perceived rudeness. Psychologists at Stirling University found that children who look away while pondering a question are more likely to supply the correct answer.

Apparently, looking at the human face is mentally demanding. So, if you want a thoughtful response from me, expect me to first look away from your demanding face.