Eye See What You Are Talking About

Making eye contact is one of the most important things that a speaker can do
Making eye contact is one of the most important things that a speaker can do
Image Credit: Riccardo Cuppini

I’ve got a quick question for you: what’s the most important thing that speaker can do during a presentation? Give up? The answer is to form a bond with your audience. This will only happen if your audience believes that they really “get you” – that you understand them and that your message has been hand crafted just for them. This is what the importance of public speaking is all about. If you want to make this happen next time you speak, then you are going to have to learn to use eye contact correctly…

Eye Contact Is All About Understanding

What a lot of speakers don’t seem to understand when they are delivering a speech is that each speech that we give is really a two-way street. They get caught up in all of the techniques that we all try to use in order to have a great presentation. What they forget is that if you don’t know what your audience is thinking, then you’ll never be able to give a speech that meets their needs.

What we need to do when we give a speech is to look into our audience’s eyes while we are talking. The reason that we want to be doing this is because our eyes are one of the most communicative parts of the human face. When you are looking into your audience’s eyes you’ll be able to detect if they are smiling, frowning, or if they are bored, excited, or even if they are understanding what you are saying. This is critical information for you to have so that you can take action.

The reason that I’m saying that your next speech has to be a two-way street is because when you look into your audience’s eyes, they’ll be telling you what they currently think about the speech that you are giving. If the reaction is not the one that you wanted to get, then you are going to have to adjust what you are saying and how you are saying it.

Good Eye Contact Helps You To Relax

As speakers we can become very tense and nervous when it comes time for us to give a speech. One of the reasons that this happens is that we are focused on ourselves. If we start to understand that we need to take the time to study the eyes of our audience, then all of a sudden we’ll have less time to think about ourselves. The natural result of this will be that we will become much more calmer.

If we are able to build good eye contact with our audience, then we will have effectively started to build rapport with them. Your audience will be expecting you to look into their eyes. This is one of the ways that they go about judging the truthfulness of what you are saying.

Now comes the question of just exactly how you can go about making good eye contact with your audience. The best way to do this is to look directly at one member of your audience and deliver a full thought while looking at them. A great side effect of this is that everyone around this person is going to think that you are really looking at them. Once you are done with this thought, shift your gaze to another audience member and repeat the process. Read their eyes as you speak and determine if they are understanding what you are telling them.

What All Of This Means For You

The next time that you give a speech, your goal has to be to find a way to use your speech to maximize the benefits of public speaking and really connect with your audience. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to learn to make effective eye contact with your audience.

One of the most important things that you are going to have to learn to do as an effective speaker will be to read your audience. Are they understanding what you are sharing with them? Making good eye contact with your audience is a great way to go about doing this. Additionally, by spending your time focusing on making good eye contact with your audience, you can distract yourself and this will allow you to be less nervous when you are giving your speech.

A speech is a very special type of conversation. You are trying to communicate your thoughts and ideas to a room full of people. However, even though there may be many of them, you want each member of your audience to believe that you are talking only to them. Learning how to effectively use eye contact is a great way to go about making this happen.

Each and every one of us wants to become a better speaker. In order to make this happen we are always looking for the techniques that we can implement to reach that next level of speaking. The good news in this case is that it is actually quite easy to get there – all we have to do is to practice and improve our eye contact. Once we master this skill, we’ll be able to connect with our audiences and they’ll be able to let us know how we’re doing.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to find out if you do a good job of making enough eye contact during your next speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Creating a speech is hard work. You take the time to understand who you will be talking to, what they want you to talk about, and how long you’ll have to talk. You then craft a fantastic opening line, outline a speech that will allow you to make whatever point you want to make, and then you start to practice it. You practice, practice, practice. Finally, the big day comes and you give your speech. Hopefully it went well because we all know about the importance of public speaking. Now just what the heck are you going to do with this speech that you’ve spent so much time creating?