Eye Contact Is Key: How to Improve Eye Contact During Your Presentation
Eye contact plays a huge role in a presenter’s ability to connect with their audience, and in turn, their overall effectiveness as a public speaker. Presenters who don’t know how to maintain eye contact with their audience appear unfocused and uninterested. Presenters who do, exude confidence and enthusiasm for their topic. Eye contact is a sure-fire way to make your audience feel included and engaged.
Here are some tricks on how to establish and use eye contact in a natural and genuine way
1. Scan the Whole Room
A lot of presenters focus their attention on certain parts of the room or select audience members only. This happens often when friends or colleagues are in the audience. The presenter’s focus is immediately drawn to a friendly and familiar face. Or sometimes the sheer size of the audience means it’s impossible to establish eye contact with each and every listener. One simple solution to the problem is to scan the audience. Start from one side of the room and slowly work your gaze through the audience to the other side. It’s an easy and effective way to make everyone feel like you are speaking to them directly.
2. Maintain Eye Contact
Sometimes scanning the room means that eye contact is too brief. To really interact with your audience and avoid the dreaded stare, try maintaining eye contact with specific audience members or sections of the audience for a few seconds. It could be three seconds, it could be five. Trust your instinct to know when to move your focus to the next listener, or group of listeners. This trick may take some practice so if you’re not sure if you are holding eye contact long enough (or holding it too long!), ask someone you know and trust for feedback.
3. Use Cameras Effectively
Nowadays presenters often work with video cameras. This creates a whole new challenge for the presenter who must now engage with two audiences – the live one and the once who will watch the video later. Without alienating your live audience, try to look at the camera as often as possible and if there is more than one, focus on the camera that is currently recording. If you can, speak to the camera operators before your presentation so you know which camera to focus on and when.
Making and maintaining eye contact during a presentation radiates confidence and sincerity to your audience. Try our tricks to improve your eye contact and connect with your audience on a more personal level!