Making eye contact with audience members is one of the most terrifying things about presenting a speech in public.
Because it’s scary and difficult, several myths about eye contact exist to help us cope with our fears. These myths swirl around meeting rooms, conference halls, Toastmasters clubs, and classrooms, and if you listen closely, you might hear presenters whispering them to one another.
Unfortunately, none of these myths will help a presenter’s delivery.
In this article, you will learn why these myths don’t work, and you’ll discover how you can move toward effective eye contact instead.
Myth 1: Looking above the audience
What’s the myth?
When I ask my students if they have heard any eye-contact tricks, the first “tip” they bring up is to look at the back of the room. Instead of meeting the eyes of the audience, the first myth suggests that you should avoid eyes altogether and instead focus on a space on the back wall—above the audience’s heads.
Why is it wrong?