A to Z Challenge: E is for Eye Contact

Week 2 of the A to Z Challenge and I am still going strong –  I chose a nice easy theme, one that I know well for my first ever A to Z challenge. I am enjoying all the blogs I have read and hopefully am leaving comments, like the ones below:

  1. The wisdom and authenticity of Make a Life Not a Living
  2. The zanny sense of humour of Zombie Flamingoes
  3. The lady monsters of Part Time Monster – Dzunukwa is really terrifying
  4. The flowing writing style of Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
  5. Postcards from Study.Read.Write

Anyway, today is all about Eye Contact when speaking in front of an audience.

Along with what has been discussed previously, making eye contact adds impact to a talk, speech or presentation.

As humans we place a lot of importance in looking into someone’s eyes to see if they are being sincere. Since childhood, many of us have been told that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and we hope to be able to tell if someone is telling the truth by just looking into someone’s eyes as they are speaking.

The same sense of importance applies to when speaking in front of a large group of people. Avoiding eye contact could make the audience doubt the speaker’s sincerity.

It takes practice to make eye contact part of your muscle memory such that you do not have to consciously remind yourself to do it.

There is nothing ground-breaking in these suggestions, I am sure you have heard of them or read them somewhere already. It is amazing how in the moment we tend to not remember them:

  1. Make eye contact with a person in the audience until you have finished a point and then move onto making eye contact with someone else for the next point.
  2. Remember the people in the middle and the back of the room – too – often we focus on the front row.
  3. Remember the sides of the room too. Do not make any member of the audience feel excluded. I have sat many times in the sides of a room and felt totally excluded by a speaker that has focused in front of them only.
  4. Scanning a room sideways with your eyes is not making eye contact.
  5. Make random eye contact with people in the audience.

One of the benefits of making eye contact is that of making the person feel that you are talking to them directly. A bonus benefit of this is that it helps with managing any nerves you may be feeling because it will be like speaking to someone on a one-to-one basis. Apart from the fact that people will think you are sincere and take your message seriously.

Tomorrow’s Lesson from Behind the Lectern is F for Fluttering Butterflies (not the cute winged creatures but those that rumble in your stomach).

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z


9 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: E is for Eye Contact”

  1. I don’t like being looked in the eye when listening to a speech, but I also don’t like feeling avoided. I think a general scan of the area is fine, but making intense eye contact with one person isn’t ideal.
    Sabina recently posted…Early ActionMy Profile

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, I appreciate the discussion. I would say that if someone in the audience breaks eye contact that’s a sign for the speaker to move his eyes someplace else.

  2. This A-Z is proving to be a project to me at least. Each post is a presentation on a topic which givesa lot of hints about things we thought we knew yet reading Ihave picked up a lot of valuable things. As I get time to read each of your challenges I am enjoying your line of thought.
    Mabel Rudo Nyazika recently posted…High NoonMy Profile

  3. Found myself watching the speaker at a worship service a week ago who sat, not straight on, but a bit sideways. Wondered if he’d even glance over our way, sitting at the back and side. He did. I was glad. You’ve hit an important point.

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