Making Eye Contact During a Speech - Why It Is So Important!
Public speaking is usually inevitable in many careers and in academic settings. As a society, we place great importance on the ability to communicate well. Those who are able to communicate with efficacy and sincerity are more likely to enjoy promotions and other opportunities than a person who cowards in the corner when it is his time to present. In order to become an effective public speaker, you need to know how to practice public speaking. Read on for the do's and don'ts of eye contact during a speech. It's important to practice public speaking and eye contact is an important technique to master.
Eye Contact Tips & Basics
Eye contact establishes trust. You've been told this hundreds of times. It's true, but remember - everything is good only in moderation! I can usually spot a person that forces his or her self to make eye contact - awkward! You have to make it natural, or at least appear natural. Don't worry - you can learn effective eye contact skills. There are a few strategies. Here are some basic do's and don'ts to help you get started!
Scanning the Room Technique
DO Scan the room. Do not look at just one or several people. Attempt to make contact with as many people as possible.
DON'T make your eye contact and body movement robot-like. This is uncomfortable for listeners to experience.
Holding Eye Contact
DO make it natural. If someone is looking directly at you, they deserve the respect of eye contact for several seconds as you speak. Once they look away, it's time for you to move onto the next listener.
DON'T stare. You're not looking into your lover's eyes. You're looking into the eyes of fellow colleagues. Anything longer than several seconds can be construed as rather unnatural and perhaps a bit creepy, at that. Again - don't force yourself.
DO practice eye contact in the mirror. Have a conversation with yourself. Make normal eye contact and familiarize yourself with what it looks like and what it feels like.
DO practice in other social settings aside from public speaking. While passing others on the street or in the market, seek people out that are willing to make eye contact with you and practice. There are many people out there that are naturals and are constantly making eye contact with others. You'll also find there are many people that are worse off at making eye contact that you are!
Reading Notes and Eye Contact
Let's be honest. There is nothing worse than listening to a person read directly from a prepared set of notes without ever looking up. Or, looking up for fractions of a second.
DON'T be that person.
DO familiarize yourself with your notes enough so you're not treating your listeners rudely.
DO make an outline instead of writing out your speech in it's entirety. Of course, this only works if you sufficiently prepare beforehand. Outlines will essentially force you to make eye contact, because there isn't much to read off the paper!
Eye Contact Public Speaking Video
Not everyone is a natural-born public speaker and that's o.k. Remember - all of us have the ability to be effective communicators - with practice! You just need to study public speaking a bit differently as you would an educational subject or topic. Keep practicing and watching others that are excellent public speakers. Practice in the mirror; seriously. You'll get there!
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