I get a lot of questions about public speaking, especially when it comes to eye contact.
Keep your eye on the prize
Since I’ve started to play ice hockey, I’ve discovered that eye contact is very important in the sport. You need situational awareness — keeping your eye on the puck, the net, and the players around you.
When you’re speaking in public, you also need to be aware of your environment. Are you connecting with your audience? Are they playing on their phones? Or have they already fallen asleep?
Have you ever seen presentations where the speakers never look up from their notes? Their eyes are glued to the page so they barely even see their audience. When you’re looking down at your notes, how can you tell if you’re connecting with your audience or if they’re falling asleep? It’s very important to observe your audience and to be present! Pay attention and you may be able to win their attention back. But you won’t be able to tell if you’re connecting if you’re not watching!
The eye contact power play
They say that your eyes are the window to your soul, and here in North America, eye contact shows confidence and that you believe in what you’re saying.
If your eyes are shifty and you look somewhere else when you speak, your listeners might ask themselves: Do you really know what you’re talking about? Do you really believe what you’re saying?
Eye contact is very important because it shows confidence, conviction, and trustworthiness. Whether you want to pitch your business to investors, do business with new prospects, or rally your employees – you need to be able to look them in the eye.
What’s your goal?
Whether you’re giving a presentation or playing hockey, you can make strategic use of your eyesight. The next time you speak in front of an audience, try to be more observant of body language and how your listeners respond to you. And when you maintain good eye contact, you show confidence, conviction, and honesty, which can help you raise funding, boost morale, and improve business.
Enjoy the rest of the season! And remember: good presentations have good eye contact!