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Eye Contact - Good For The Audience ...And You!

Eye contact is good for the audience! For everyone accustomed to getting information by television, eye contact is a key connection between people. The newscasters and talk show hosts read information as they look through teleprompters to a camera. As we watch the set, they appear to be talking directly to us! This manner of receiving and processing information has dramatically changed the value of eye contact. Standards are higher. We expect people to look in our eyes, and we are suspicious if they don`t.

In our culture, eye contact signifies trust, confidence, and believability. But eye contact is meaningful in every culture. In other cultures, the absence of direct contact signifies deference to those more powerful.

The bottom line? We look to each other`s eyes for signals of what is going on inside. The eyes are the windows of the soul. You of course need to use rock solid eye contact when you are speaking to a live audience or in one on one conversations. Also, modern technology presents challenges and opportunities for eye contact skills. When you are using a teleprompter or participating in a video conference, you must look directly at the teleprompter or the camera - as if they were human beings! The audience will perceive you as looking directly at them.

Eye contact is good for you! People understand us better when we stay on track, talk in crisp clear sentences, and get rid of junk words. Eye contact is the foundation of better focus and clearness in our speech. I saw a wonderful juggling act recently - the Karamazov brothers. They juggled everything while talking, moving around, cracking jokes. How is that possible? Focus! They were like professional athletes who credit eye contact as the first step in mental focus which helps them “stay in the zone.” Consider this thought: we are like cameras - what we focus on is what develops.

How convinced am I about this skill? Blindfold me, and take me to a meeting. Whenever I hear someone speaking in a clear, direct fashion, in words uncluttered with junk, I will bet - without seeing them - that they are using rock-solid eye contact. Use rock-solid, 100% eye contact in every communication situation. It`s good for the audience and for you!


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