Chapter 6. The Eyes Trump the Ears: Use the Dominant Sense

When I was a young TV reporter, one of my first plum assignments was covering the Kentucky Derby for NBC stations. Imagine my excitement, approaching Churchill Downs in search of human-interest stories for the week leading up to the Derby.

One day, my assignment was to feature the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. There I was, tiny Connie, surrounded by hulking horses. Suddenly, my cheerful chatting was cut short when, with cameras rolling, a two-thousand-pound, plow-pulling, purebred Clydesdale began to eat my hair—on television! Neophyte reporter that I was, out of embarrassment and shock, I carried on with my report as if nothing was happening. (To be fair to the horse, my dry, lacquered locks must have looked like lunch to a creature that consumes fifty pounds of hay each day.)

A Shortcut to Clarity

My ridiculous televised hair scare taught me a valuable lesson beyond the need to lay off the lacquer: The eyes trump the ears. As you can imagine, no one heard a word I was saying—I could have announced the cure for cancer and it wouldn't have sunk in. My audience was too caught up in a visual distraction worthy of the Derby slogan, "The most exciting two minutes in sports."

What does "the eyes trump the ears" mean to you when you're conveying a message in the office or the boardroom?

Brad, a financial fund advisor, learned the power of this strategy in the workplace when he failed to use it. He inadvertently created chaos instead ...

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