How to Make Eye Contact When Public Speaking

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How to make eye contact when public speaking! When giving a presentation, great eye contact with your audience is key. It can make or break a speech. But, what exactly are the expectations? This video explores 3 eye contact tips to make sure you’re using professional-level presentation skills.

First, lots of speakers have terrible eye contact skills. They look at their slides. They look at their notes. They look at the floor, ceiling, or off into space. Not good! Plenty of bad advice also circulates: “look over listeners’ heads, look only at people you know, or picture them in their pajamas.”

Instead, do what professional speakers do. If you want to get better, you have to practice good fundamentals.

1. Look directly at somebody in the audience 99% of the time. If you must look at your notes or your slides, just glance for a moment and bounce right back and look directly at somebody.

2. Look at each person long enough to finish a sentence or a thought. If you look into their eyes for about this long, they will feel a connection. Then you can move on to the next person. Of all the eye contact tips, this is fundamental. You cannot quickly scan the room and expect to get much credit for connection. You have to clearly look into somebody’s eyes and hold your gaze for a moment.

3. Look at every single person in the room. If you’re presenting for 10 min. to a group of 10 people, you can look at each person numerous times. Even with a group of 30+ people, you can look at each person 3 to 4 times during a 10 min. presentation.

Be sure to bounce around as well. Don’t be a robot and look at everybody in one row and then go to the next row. Mingle with your eye contact instead of mowing people down.

See these related videos for more eye contact tips:
How to Make Eye Contact in Conversations (Part 2)

How to Make Eye Contact in Groups for Status (Part 3):

Alex Lyon’s Book: Case Studies in Courageous Communication:

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