Eye Contact Do's and Don'ts in Public Speaking

Apr 11, 2018

Strong eye contact in conversation lets the other person know you’re listening. As a public speaker, eye contact makes your audience feel more engaged—as though you’re having a conversation just with them.

In this video, I share one easy technique for using eye contact to form a deeper connection with your audience.

Hi, my name is Victoria Lioznyansky, and I help entrepreneurs conquer their fear of public speaking and become confident, compelling, and captivating speakers.

Today, we are going to talk about eye contact. Now, if I was talking to you like this, the whole time, and never even looked at you, would you feel that I'm actually talking to you? Of course not! You would feel that I am, at the very least, shady. This is not how you create a connection with another human being.

We know that we create connections in real life, in everyday conversations, by looking at another person. We are maintaining eye contact. We look away, but we still maintain eye contact most of the time.

So here is what not to do in public speaking. Do not look above the crowd. That's a very common mistake. A lot of people, when they're nervous, they tend to not make eye contact, and they tend to look above the heads of everybody, find some spot on the wall and just keep on looking at it. It is not good. It is pretty obvious when you're not making eye contact with your audience.

Another thing not to do, if let's say, you had papers in your hand, and you are looking at your papers the whole time: uh-uh. Boring.

Or, if you have slides and you spend the whole time with your back to the audience, looking at your slides.

Why is that sense of connection important? Because not only does it put you at ease, it puts them at ease. It makes them feel that you are actually talking to them. You become an engaging speaker versus a boring speaker.

Here is how you do it. As soon as you start talking, you find one person in the audience, and you look at them for 3-5 seconds. As you are maintaining that eye contact, for 3-5 seconds, you are talking to that person and that person alone. Nobody else exists in the audience for you. You're talking to that one person like you would talk to a friend. And you're having a conversation! Only that conversation is very short. It's only five seconds.

And then, you look at somebody else in the audience. And now you have a conversation with them for 3-5 seconds. And again, you maintain your eye contact with that person the whole time.

And you continue doing it throughout your speech, and what happens is while you're looking at those people, throughout your presentation, those people feel that you're only talking to them.

You cannot look at your whole audience if you have an audience of 500 people. But as you are slowly building a connection to one person at a time you become an engaging speaker.

Of course there are a whole bunch of other things you need to be doing to be a truly engaging speaker, but do not underestimate the importance of eye contact.

Remember: you are talking to one person in an audience at a time, and you're creating a true connection with that one person at a time.

I hope you found this video helpful. For more of my public speaking training videos, visit my website, at byvictorial.com, and also please, like, share and comment on this video. I can't wait to hear from you. All the best to you. Take care.

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