Don’t let these 3 eye-contact goofs mar a presentation

Why you should never look at your slides, how much of your speech you should spend keeping direct eye contact with your audience, and why it’s so important to make eye contact with the grumps in your audience.

“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” I’ve always really liked that saying.

For me it says that we get meaning from looking into someone’s eyes; sometimes even more than what the words express. When I hold someone’s gaze, and I mean really look into their eyes, it make me feel like I am physically closer… like I am making a connection.

As a member of the human race we instinctively know the importance of eye contact. It’s how you know if someone is paying attention or how you know if someone finds you attractive. In North America and most of Europe eye contact is critical for establishing trust. When a person averts his eyes he’s perceived as untrustworthy, superficial, and unreceptive. But in today’s global workplace it is also important to recognize that in some cultures steady eye contact is considered impolite or aggressive.

I like to think of the audience as one person; one person with a lot of heads, but still one person. It helps me to keep my delivery conversational and reminds me to maintain eye contact like I would in a regular one-on-one conversation.

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