When Public Speaking, Look at Individuals Instead of the Entire Group

The next time you’re asked to lead a meeting, teach a class, or give a speech, here’s one way to get everyone’s attention: look at individual people instead of letting your gaze settle on the entire group.

As you give your speech or present your information, make eye contact with a single member of your audience. Choose a person who is already looking at you; this isn’t a Glare of Shame to try to get someone off their phone. After you’ve had a brief moment of connection, make eye contact with another individual—and chances are, a few more pairs of eyes will already be turned your way.

Make the Right Amount of Eye Contact With the 60 Percent Rule

It’s important to make eye contact when you’re talking to someone, but too much eye contact can be…

We Are Attracted to Attention—Especially if It’s Not Being Directed at Us

Here’s why this technique works: humans are attracted to attention. When you look someone in the eye, the rest of the audience will notice that you’re paying attention to someone. They’ll start watching you more carefully; first to see what you’re doing, and second because they’re hoping you might pay attention to them next.

This technique also works because eye contact is a powerful tool. When you meet someone else’s eyes, you invite them to engage with you, and they immediately become more receptive to what you have to say. This is the kind of skill that politicians and motivational speakers master—and so can you.

Practice Eye Contact to Generate “Reality Distortion Field” Charisma

Want to see this technique in action? Watch Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking TED Talk. During the talk, Palmer discusses the importance of making eye contact while actually making eye contact with individuals in her audience. It’s part of what makes her TED Talk so compelling; even though she’s not looking directly at us, we can see her looking directly at someone and transfer the emotion and the connection to ourselves.

To Master This Skill, Practice Shifting Your Focus While Speaking

I learned the eye contact technique in grad school, and I’ve both practiced and taught it in many classrooms since. It takes some work to learn how to naturally shift your gaze while speaking, especially if you are focusing most of your efforts on trying to remember the material you’re presenting!

However, this technique is easy to practice. The next time you prepare a speech or lecture, try giving the speech while making “eye contact” with different areas of the room. Make eye contact with the bookshelf. Then make eye contact with the window. Practice shifting your focus from the front to the back of the room, or from left to right—you don’t just want to make eye contact with people sitting front and center, after all.

Practice Making Eye Contact While Watching TV

Eventually, making eye contact while speaking will feel as natural as breathing between sentences. You won’t have to think about it; you’ll introduce yourself, begin your presentation, and automatically start seeking out the people who are looking your way.

You’ll probably find public speaking a lot more enjoyable, too—because you’ll be fully engaged with your material, just like your audience.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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