“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul….”
Eye contact is a critical element of a strong presenter’s persona. It’s connection communicates sincerity, openness and confidence.
Some people wrestle with this and provide fleeting eye contact at best, especially when talking to a larger audience. It appears to be a shotgun approach in that the intended scatter pattern is trusted to suffice for true connection.
But real connection takes time. How much time for eye contact? Some sources say it should be a number of seconds. So try that. Count to 3 or 5 or whatever number while delivering your content. What happens? I’ll bet it’s tough to focus on what you’re saying when counting in your head or tapping out hidden beats with fingers or toes.
Why not look to how you communicate every day for a better gauge. Notice what happens when making eye contact with people. You’ll see that they give you a physical or vocal gesture to indicate they got your point. Maybe that amount of time, from initial contact to their acknowledgement is what it takes to really connect?
Make solid eye contact with your audience and move on to the next person when you’ve received some response that says they got it or not (then you have another decision to make!). Being solid and practiced with your content allows you the freedom to practice this technique even during a live presentation.
How do you know if you’re making strong eye contact? Presentation Skills Workshops (starting 3/30/17 in Kansas City or customized any time) or Your Video Coaching from How to Act in Business can help.
It’s your stage. Your performance. And with eye contact helping to solidify your message, you’re on!