Eye Contact: 10 Tips to Elevate the Effectiveness of Your Next Presentation

By September 21, 2010March 31st, 2020SpeakerNotes

As a presenter, using your eyes to engage your audience is critical to creating a sense of confidence, establishing credibility, and building rapport.  So, what can you do to make your next presentation an eye-opening experience? Consider these 10 tips to elevate the effectiveness of your next presentation.

Greet Your Listeners As They Gather

Before the meeting or event even begins, an initial greeting with direct eye contact helps build rapport, turning strangers into friends.

Start And End With Direct Eye Contact

Once you’re introduced — but before you say a word — stop, look out at your audience directly, and smile.  End your remarks by looking out, scanning the audience, and smiling.

Divide The Room Into Sections

Make sure to give each section of the room equal time and energy.  Look to the left side for a few seconds, then the middle, then the right.  Don’t neglect the people in the back!

Hint: When looking at the back of a large room, it makes more sense to focus on a section rather than trying to make direct eye contact with someone far away.

Look For Friendly Faces

To build confidence, initially make eye contact with people who are smiling, nodding, and showing support for you and your message.

Use The 3-Second Rule

Hold eye contact with a person for 3 seconds at a time.  Have direct eye contact with a number of people in the audience.

Maintain Direct, Roving, Continuous Eye Contact

Sweep your gaze across the audience, remembering to engage with people at the very back and far sides as well as those in the front.  The rule of thumb is 90% direct, roving continuous eye contact.

Be Easy On The Eyes

Have sincere eye contact, but careful not to drill holes through people.

Speak To The Eyes

Avoid speaking to your notes, slides, flip chart, ceiling, and the back wall.

Use Your Eyes To Read Your Audience

Remember, a presentation is more than a one-way communication; it’s a dialogue with your audience.  As you scan the audience, they are communicating with their eyes, their body language and their facial expressions.  Take advantage of this non-verbal communication and adjust your delivery accordingly.

Be Sensitive To Cultural Differences

In the United States, eye contact communicates confidence, credibility and connection.  People from Arab countries use prolonged eye contact to gauge trustworthiness.  However, in some countries, direct eye contact is seen as challenging and rude.  For example, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, people avoid direct eye contact as a sign of respect.  It will be worth your while to know this about your audience ahead of time.