CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JULY 10, 2021 (PT.1)
The Importance of Eye Contact during a Presentation
If there is one simple thing you can do to enhance your impact as a presenter and persuade others to see your point of view, it’s sustained, meaningful eye contact with your audience.
Positive eye contact helps you build rapport with your audience and keeps them engaged with your presentation. It also gives them a sense of involvement and conveys your message on a personal level.
Here are the key benefits of eye contact followed by tips on how you can improve yours during a presentation.
Benefits of great eye contact
1. Establishes a connection with your audience
A deliberate look in the eyes of an audience member can communicate how much you care about their thoughts. Sustained eye contact is an invitation to turn your talk into a conversation. It creates a bond between speaker and listener, a connection that is beneficial to both parties.
When you look someone in the eye, they are more likely to look at you, more likely to listen to you, and more likely to buy into your message.
2. Improves your concentration
A room full of people, with all the different lighting and sounds, can be very distracting. Deliberately focussing your eyes on different audience members will help calm your nerves and clear your mind. Keep your eye contact steady so you can concentrate on your message.
When you look someone in the eye for three to five seconds, you will naturally slow down your speech, which will make you sound more authoritative.
3. Projects authority and confidence
Have you ever spoken with someone who averts their gaze every time they talk? It’s hard to believe they know what they are talking about and you might find yourself undermining what they are saying.
With sustained, focused eye contact comes authority. If you can’t look people in the eye, you can’t expect them to believe your message or agree with your point of view. Good eye contact can communicate confidence and conviction.
4. Facilitates engagement with the audience
People will be more willing to participate in the speech when they see you scanning the crowd. You’ll notice them nodding, frowning and even smiling. As a result, your audience are transformed from passive listeners to active participants.
If you don’t focus on different audience members or are looking at the floor (or your slides), the audience are less likely to engage with the presentation and start thinking about something completely different – you’ll have effectively lost that participant as they are no longer listening to what you are saying.