Not just at the invisible audience!
The other day I was watching someone deliver a particularly pertinent and passionate speech. Except that I was distracted and found it very difficult to focus on the key messages.
There was virtually no eye contact between me and the speaker.
Eye no better | I know better
I have to confess there are times when everything else is fine but something isn’t quite chicken, like here, I get quite annoyed. Let’s say someone’s wearing a dirty shirt, they’re shouting, they’re clicking their knuckles or splattering their well-constructed words with far too many approbation-seeking “yeah?”s. I know I should behave in my head but, there you go, I get like that sometimes.
Actually in this case I could only feel empathy. It’s hard enough standing up to speak sometimes, what with nerves together with the inevitable feeling that you’re going to forget your words, the words you so meticulously crafted to achieve maximum impact. Let alone trying to maintain contact with a whole audience.
A simple exercise
If you have difficulty maintaining eye contact with your audience during a speech, presentation or meeting, try this. Put your camera, whether it’s on your phone or otherwise, on a tripod and stand it in the corner of the room. Switch it on, press record then stand in a place where you can fix your eyes firmly on the lens or monitor.
Then speak. It could be a prepared speech, what you’ve just had for lunch, an anecdote about a former paramour. Whatever you your subject matter, just speak for 2 minutes, then stop.
When you get a moment, watch your video back and see how intent you are.
Repeat the exercise until you feel ready to go again with your audience, this time safe in the knowledge that you’ll make good contact(s) and influence people.
Thanks to The Projects for use of their beautiful sitting room.