If you don’t use eye contact effectively you lose your audience!
Eye Contact Builds Rapport: Great speeches are like one-on-one conversations with each audience member. When you make eye contact, you are connecting to your audience. It helps to establish rapport, makes them feel special and that they are important.
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Eye Contact Gives Immediate Feedback: The other reason to make eye contact is that you gain an understanding of your audience.
It gives you immediate feedback. You can see if they are listening, if they are interested, worried, excited, bored or delighted. You can then change and modify your presentation, ask questions or shift yourself into a more resourceful state, so as to meet the requirements of the moment.
How to Use Eye Contact
Try to reach your entire audience. If you are giving a presentation to a group of people, the eye contact can be done in an irregular and unpredictable “Z” formation – looking at one person for three to five seconds and then moving across the room and settling on another face.
Here we recommend you try to hold each person’s eye for about 4 to 5 seconds.
We suggest you stay connected to one person for just as long as you sense they are listening. Watch for that little ‘nod’ of acknowledgement, or a look in their eyes that they know you have just spoken to them. Then move gracefully on to someone else in the crowd.
If you are performing to a hugh audience, obviously you will not connect with everyone, however when you look directly at one person, the people around them and behind them – the group in that area – actually feel like you haveacknowledged them.
With large audiences and under bright lights, you have to pretend you see their eyes even when you can’t, by envisioning them.