Dominate Eye Contact in Public Speaking
Eye contact with a crowd feels daunting.
Especially if you have problems with eye contact in one on one interactions.
For the most part, eye contact is a skill.
An invisible muscle.
You may suck at holding the contact in the beginning.
But the more that you practice, the better that you get.
Hold for 2 seconds.
Then keep adding onto that.
3, 5, 9 seconds…
One day, eye contact will feel effortless for you.
Eye contact in social interactions and speeches seem to be completely different.
But that’s not really the case.
There are more similarities than differences.
If you can understand the fundamentals of eye contact, then you will feel a sense of calm on speech day.
Especially when you see an army of eyes looking at you, anticipating to hear your voice.
Why are the Eyes so Crucial?
Eyes are crucial because it is the gateway to confidence.
Eyes and the voice.
When someone’s voice is too shaky, they seem nervous.
Or they seem like they are telling some sort of lie.
Same context with eye contact.
When someone is looking everywhere but at the person they are speaking to, then suspicion arises.
Looks like you stole something…
The eyes are meant to spark rapport & showcase that you can be trusted.
When you look at someone’s eyes, it humanizes them.
Next time you are angry at someone & you’re about to snap…
And look at their eyes before you make your next move.
You’ll feel a strange sense of compassion which prevents you from doing something stupid.
That’s the power of the eyes.
Why is Eye Contact an Issue in Social Interactions & Speeches?
So you may have one or both of the following problems.
-You are poor with eye contact in interactions.
-You are poor with eye contact in speeches.
In both cases, the same fundamental truth is present.
And what is that?
Eye contact brings awareness to your WHOLE body.
When someone is staring at your eyes, you feel like they are looking at ALL of you.
And if you are someone who lacks self-confidence, then this vulnerability feels 10x worse.
In the context of public speaking, this vulnerability feels 100x worse.
It feels like the world has X-RAY vision and is peaking into your internal world.
But it’s not that serious.
People are seeing you, yes.
But from their worldview, they don’t view it as a big deal.
It’s just a form of trying to showcase interest.
Others are making eye contact with you because they want to hold a social bond with you.
They want to give you respect.
It’s your ego that is creating a narrative which is stating:
‘Why are they looking at you like that? They are judging you!’
And imagine if they weren’t looking at you.
Then your ego would be like:
‘The disrespect! They can’t even make eye contact with you.’
The point is that your ego is creating fake narratives & you’re falling for it.
Undermine the narratives.
Laugh it off.
And accept ALL the uncomfortable sensations that your body feels.
Each time you are able to take purposeful action DESPITE the uncomfortable feelings, the better you will feel in terms of eye contact for future interactions.
Trust me, the effects compound.
How to Do Eye Contact in Public Speaking
You may try to make eye contact with the ENTIRE audience when you are giving your speech.
But this will only make your speech anxiety worse.
And will give the audience a filtered version of you.
‘There is a crowd though Armani. If I don’t look at everyone, then they will be angry.’
Not at all.
Once again, it’s the untamed ego creating fake narratives & you’re falling for it.
Your goal is not to look at every single person.
If you’re a beginner, then you can just look at 3 people.
One person from the left, one from the middle & one from the right section of the audience.
Find the person who looks the most engaged from each section & have a direct conversation with them.
‘So in a 50 people audience, you’re telling me to only look at only 3 of them? You’re crazy!’
The beauty of this strategy is that the people AROUND the 3 selected individuals think that you are looking at them.
So let’s say you are looking at Ricky from the left section.
And Susie, Jimmie & Jake are sitting by Ricky.
Well, Susie, Jimmie & Jake are going to think that you are looking at them.
Even though you are only looking at Ricky.
Due to the closeness of the parties & the distance of your eyes, others are completely oblivious to who you are truly looking at.
This allows you to feel calm, while the audience members feel important.
That’s the power of the ‘less is more’ mantra.
Lock & Hold Beats Scanning
Us humans hate lectures.
Any idea why?
‘Because they are boring.’
And why are they boring?
‘Hm…never thought about that.’
It’s because in lectures, people are talking AT us.
-We hate when someone talks AT us.
-We love it when someone talks TO us.
The difference is between connection levels.
When you talk at someone, it’s like you are announcing something to them.
You take away their individuality which causes your message to become bland.
On the flip side, when you talk to someone…
You make them feel like the most important human in the universe.
And that’s the power of having conversations on the public speaking stage.
Major paradigm flip.
Don’t think that you are speaking to a crowd.
Don’t even view it as a crowd.
View it as a bunch of INDIVIDUALS who just happen to be sitting around each other.
Now have conversations.
This mentality will cure your fear of eye contact during public speaking.
It will allow you to LOCK & HOLD, then deliver a point, before moving away.
Much better than scanning a sea of eyeballs hoping you didn’t miss someone.
Nah, forget that.
3 people are all you need to begin your public speaking journey.
If you can’t do that, then you just don’t want it bad enough.
Eyes Showcase Confidence
The eyes will open opportunities.
The eyes will close opportunities.
It still baffles me how much power the eyes & voice have in the communications world.
It’s the portal of telling if someone has leadership potential or not.
Don’t undermine the importance of your eyes.
Make peace with the tension you feel.
Behind anyone you see with comfortable eye contact…
Was once a person who was hella uncomfortable.
However, they just aimed to make each interaction a BIT better.
Each speech a BIT better.
And over time, they cultivated a smooth gaze that puts everyone in a trance.
What they had to work years for, now seems effortless.
This is something we can do once we tune in to how we move…
When we start placing importance on the compound effect.
-Good things take time.
-Great things build in networks.
There’s no reason eye contact doesn’t fall under that boat too.
Make each speech better than the last, have conversations & remember less is more.
That’s how you dominate eye contact in public speaking.
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