The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

I’ve been debating writing this post, but in the spirit of Sir Richard Branson‘s approach (“screw it, let’s do it”) I’ve decided to go ahead.

We’ve been working on a few sites for institutions of higher learning and, in the process of researching the competition, happened upon the site for Elon University. I really like the design of this site and have often tipped my proverbial hat to the team who created it. It’s clean, clear, and concise. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it really good? I think so.

I happened, during a visit, to click on the video link on the homepage under the heading “Voices of Elon”. In this video, University President Leo Lambert speaks in glowing terms about the quality of his institution. “One of the things that I believe in my heart,” he begins, “is that the world needs Elon graduates. The world is crying out for Elon graduates today. I can’t help but believe that if the University didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it.”

This is pretty heady stuff. The problem, for me at least, is that the entire time he’s making this proclamation, he’s shaking his head. It’s like, somewhere deep in his brain, he’s thinking, “I can’t believe they wrote this stuff and expect me to say it.” When I first noticed this, I thought it was, perhaps, a nervous tic, or just his natural speaking disposition. But as he continues talking, the shaking stops:

“Because we are turning out some very special young people, prepared to assume positions of leadership in the world, people who have been prepared to think as global citizens, people committed to a life of service…” He goes on from there, but this is stuff that he really believes, and his belief makes me believe it too. It’s seems apparent that Elon really is turning out some very special people with a great educational experience behind them. But those first three sentences? I’m not buying it. I don’t think prospective students will buy it. Heck, I don’t even think Leo Lambert buys it.

On the other hand, maybe I’ve just seen one too many episodes of “Lie to Me.” You take a look and let me know what you think. Visit the site and look for “Voices of Elon” in the bottom right margin.

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