When we have a conversation with someone, we look at them. It’s obvious in your day-to-day life but, when you’re on stage, out of your comfort zone, it’s worth thinking about.
Eye contact creates a sense of closeness. Would you talk to a friend while looking at the wall behind them? No, so why do so many speakers struggle to look at their audience when speaking to what is basically a roomful of individuals?
One of the things that can help you when you are speaking is to remember that a presentation is a sort of conversation. There may be fewer contributions from the other side, but they are reacting to what you’re saying all the time.
That is why eye contact matters so much. A powerful speaker connects with an audience with words, and body language – including eye contact.
When you want to convey authority you use your eyes. When you want to convince someone, you use your eyes. So, when you avoid doing it, you can seem evasive or diffident.
Luckily, when you’re on stage, it is a two way street. Eye contact helps your audience stay engaged, and it helps you with concentration, staying in the moment. When our eyes wander, so can our minds. Staying focused on your audience will help you remain focused on your words and feel more grounded. Your passion will come out more when it’s personal.
In summary, eye contact makes presentations more engaging for everyone. It isn’t just something we do in conversation – it is conversation and that’s why it matters.