Peter Urs Bender   Previous Page  |  Next Page

Eye Contact

Effective and efficient eye contact is the mark of a professional
presenter. According to Leonardo Da Vinci, the eyes are the
mirror of the soul. They show how you feel inside. Open eyes
convey belief in oneself. Eyes half-closed signal disbelief. Good
eye contact helps you to carry your message individually to
each person in the audience. Learn to scan the audience,
stopping to make eye contact with each individual in the room.
Pause two or three seconds with each listener. This ensures
that your presentation feels more like a one-on-one conversa-
tion than a speech.
     Looking people straight in the eyes builds trust. If you are
not comfortable doing that, look at the bridge of the nose or at
the chin. The effect is exactly the same and it appears to others
as if you are looking at them directly. Scan the room diago-
nally. From corner to corner. Left to right, right to left. If there
is someone in the audience whom you think might intimidate
you or cause you to lose confidence, avoid looking at them until
you are comfortable and your presentation is well underway.
It is important to use techniques which reinforce your confi-
dence and help build rapport with your audience. Look for the
friendlier, sympathetic faces. Smile at these people and win
them over, one by one. Then, move on to the more sceptical
members and work on them. Your audience will tend to look at
you the way you look at them. If you smile, they will smile. If
you frown, so will they.

Visualize the Audience Looking Silly

If you are nervous making eye contact with the audience, and
most presenters are at the beginning, just use your imagina-
tion to picture the audience sitting nude - especially if they’re
all big shots! At the beginning of his career, Winston Churchill



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