There isn’t anything that connects you with your audience more than your eyes. We call that eye contact.
Now, I don’t mean cursory, flit around the room eye contact – I’m talking hard core at least two sentences long eye contact. That’s what works.
Beginning speakers know they have to have good eye contact and so they make sure they scan the room and try and spend a couple of seconds on each person. That’s the ADD method.
People know when you’re talking AT them rather than TO them. If you’ve sat in the audience when a speaker scans the group and never really connects with one person, you know you don’t tend to get really involved in the message.
But when a speaker spends the time to speak directly to a single person for at least two sentences, there’s a real connection going on there – it’s more like a conversation. And what’s interesting is – the rest of the audience transfers that to themselves. We all feel that the presenter has connected with us, even if we’re not the one that got the hard core, two sentence eye-lock.
What helps as a speaker is to have some friendly faces out there and that’s why I try to show up early and meet some audience members beforehand. It gives you someone you know to address. Now, you have to pick out at least half a dozen people to connect with. The more the merrier.
You’ll find it makes an incredible difference to how you’re received. Try it!