Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Engaging your audience with your eye contact

This is my 1 year old daughter Ryanna looking straight at me with such innocence and love. I have read somewhere that the eyes are the window of the soul. You can tell the person whether he is happy, frighten, sad and how he is currently feeling by looking at his eyes, though no words have been spoken. 

A few months back, I'd attended a seminar where the facilitator had us standing face to face with another partner and looking into each other eyes for 1 minute and not speak a word. Do you know how awkward that feels? You can hear the minute hand ticking  slowly as if it is in a twilight zone. After 10 seconds, there was a strong urge to move our eyes away from each other. Some giggle, body twitching and some complaining how silly the activity was. The reason for being uncomfortable, is that we feel exposed to the other person. We are uncomfortable with ourselves.

Whenever I am up on stage delivering my speech, I make a point to make a personal eye contact with someone in the audience.  I would zoom in to at least three persons in different sitting position. It is especially effective when you are making a point. Aside from making your audience feel that you are talking to them directly, I am able to gauge whether the audience is still with me. The worst thing that could happen to a speaker is when he continue to speak without realising that he has lost the audience.

Speaking is all about connecting, getting the essence of your message  across  to your audience so that they will take the desired action that you have intended in the speech. The next time you are going to deliver your speech to an audience you are not familiar with. Spend some time to get to know a few people in the audience prior to speaking. Later when you begin speaking zoom into  this people through eye contact. It will make a big difference to the success of your speaking engagement.

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