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Eye Contact

Speak to one person at a time when you present. Can you imagine interviewing a person who looked at the wall or floor when answering your questions? This would not inspire your confidence in that person. In our culture we expect good, direct eye contact. (Note: This is one of the biggest cultural variables, always find out what the audience is comfortable with if you are presenting in a culture outside your own.) Yet in many presentations, a speaker will look at a spot on the back of the wall, or at a screen, or at notes—everywhere but into the eyes of the audience.

Eye contact opens the channel of communication between people. It helps establish and build rapport. It involves the audience in the presentation, and makes the presentation more personable. Good eye contact between the speaker and audience also helps relax the speaker by connecting the speaker to the audience and reducing the speaker’s feeling of isolation.


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