Eye contact is our most powerful tool when it comes to communication. Without it, speeches and every day conversations will not be as potent as we want them to be. Using eye contact while speaking provides your listener with sincerity behind what you’re saying. It will also benefit you by letting you know how people act or look while you speak, as we receive information through sight; we can tell who is listening – and who needs a little extra something, something to pay attention. Below are a few tips on how to use eye contact effectively. Good Luck!
1.Make eye contact with a few individuals in a large audience
If you must present to hundreds of people, it’s impossible to do the usual scan back and forth, all the while making eye contact with everyone along the way. The best thing to do is find a few individuals in the front, middle and back and focus on them throughout your speech. Making such intimate contact with these few people, will help you present the material by helping you forget you’re speaking to hundreds of people in the first place! This will also provide those you’ve picked to look at with a personable and pleasant experience.
2. Know your stuff
When you understand your material, you’re able to focus on the audience. You can ‘finesse’ your delivery along with your body language. The whole point of a presentation is to present your material outwards – not presenting your words to cue cards. If you need cards to read off of, that’s fine! Just make sure you’ve prepared the night before, and have practiced as much as you can until you feel comfortable with presenting with minimal support from any materials.
3.Pay attention to how your audience is feeling
As mentioned above, we receive information through our eyes. While you’re speaking, pay attention to how your audience is reacting. Are they bored? Sleepy? Angry? Are they excited? This will tell you if you need to pace yourself, speed up, smile, change subjects, pause, etc. You may be nervous, but try to remember to control your nerves and focus on how things are going. This will determine the outcome of your presentations, and whether the audience has taken home the messages you wanted to convey.