Trust, friendship, kindness: these three things can be fostered with the simple art of eye contact. It's one of the first things we're taught to do when introducing ourselves to another person, making a good first impression, and let someone know we're listening to them. Despite these realities, however, eye contact can be one of the easiest things to forget when presenting. Whether our nerves or desire to present quickly get in the way of healthy eye contact with our audience members, it is critical to harness this effective presentation tool. Here is the Dog and Pony Show team's analysis:
1. Why it's Nerve-Wracking
Eye contact takes energy and intentionality; the more detailed an idea is, the more likely we are to break eye contact when describing it. Thus, the art of eye contact is a deliberate one.
2. Why it's Important
Eye contact sends the powerful non-verbal message of "I am here for you. I am engaged, listening, and open to you." We can't imagine successfully sharing a message without it.
3. How Much is Too Much?When implementing eye contact into our presentations, we want to ensure that: 1. We are not modelling an unsettling facial expression (cue scary wide eyes), and 2. We are not making eye contact with one person only (this can be perceived as creepy). Smile, be confident, and allow eye contact with your audience to let them know you're here for them.
Looking for more presentation tips and tricks? Check out the Dog and Pony Show blog post on how to enhance your presentation charisma!