3 eye contact myths to disregard in your next talk

Presentations are fraught with obstacles that the speaker must navigate. Among them are purported ‘solutions’ about where one’s gaze should land.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

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?

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.