How To Use Eye Contact To Connect With Your Audience

WRITTEN July 19, 2019 Author: Michelle LaFiura

Eye contact is an important tool of connection.

In our daily interactions, we use direct eye contact to show we are listening, convey feelings, express our emotions, display interest, and communicate attraction. 

In front of an audience, eye contact is quite different. The conversation is primarily one-sided, which can be an uncomfortable scenario for some of us. And if I’m being honest, there will be people in your audience who don’t want to participate in this one-sided interaction. But, there will be just as many who do. Here are a few tips on how to connect and build a better presentation, .

1. Establish a Connection Before You Speak

Often, if you are speaking at an event, you’ll have the opportunity to network and mingle before the audience takes their seats. Use this as an opportunity to connect with the individuals in your audience.These familiar faces will be a shining beacon of light when you get on stage later. 

2. Seek Out Individuals

When you first get up before the crowd, take a moment to pause, breathe, and scan the room for those who will be receptive to your presentation. This will include the folks you met beforehand, but will also include people who are attentive and engaged. 

3. Linger On a Connection

According to The Journal of Social Psychology, strong eye contact can be perceived as a sign of strength and confidence. In fact, it takes about 5 seconds to establish a connection with an audience member and potentially win them over. Fortunately, this is also about the same length of time it takes to finish a thought. Set your eyesight on somebody in the audience, establish that connection, but don’t forget to move on.

4. Don’t Linger Too Long On Any One Person

I personally have been guilty of this on occasion. I find somebody in the audience who is receptive and I linger on them just a little too long because I’m so absorbed with what I’m saying that I forget to move my eye contact around the room. Make sure you switch it up and move your focus around the room. If you see somebody getting uncomfortable with eye contact, move on.  

5. Break Your Audience Into Different Sections

One of the best ways to ensure your focus moves around the room is to break your audience into different sections. Of course, you will never be able to connect with every single audience member, but if you divide the rom into groups and connect with one person from each group, you’ll be ensuring your focus is diversified around the room. 

6. Finally, Don’t Overthink It! 

If you’ve made it this far in your career and are being asked to present, you’re qualified enough to do it successfully. You got this!

If you found this article helpful, don’t stop here! Improving Communications offers a wide variety of the best business public speaking training courses and seminars. Please check out our public speaking workshop for more useful information to help you overcome nerves and make an impact on your audience.

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