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How to effectively use eye contact when presentingHi, it’s Carl from PresentationExpressions. Today, I’m gonna teach you about using eye contact in a presentation.

But why is this important?

Well, have you ever experienced talking to someone who didn’t look you in the eyes while they were talking to you? It was probably really uncomfortable or it made you feel like the other person didn’t care about you. And that’s precisely why you have to learn proper eye contact techniques.

Eye contact with your audience will help your audience connect to you and you to them. It tells them you are focused on speaking to them. But the other important thing about eye contact is when you’re listening to someone ask you a question during or after your presentation.

So I’m gonna talk about two things:

Number one, eye contact when presenting.

And number two, eye contact when listening to a question from the audience.

You can watch the video or read the rest below.

Watch the video below by clicking the image or download it here if YouTube is unavailable in your area: How to use eye contact in a presentation (Length 5:06)

Best way to use eye contact when presenting

Eye Contact When Presenting

There are three things that you need to do:

First, make sure you look at every part of the audience.

That means side-to-side, front-to-back, back-to-front and also in combination with the side-to-side. The key is to be natural and smooth, not jerky.

Second, look directly at one person and speak to that person for about 2 seconds.

When you look at one person, for that brief moment, he or she will feel as if you are only speaking to him or her and no one else. It’s actually very powerful and will help strengthen your connection to the audience.

And third, smile with your eyes.

What I mean by smile with your eyes is to look at individual audience members like you’re looking at a cute baby, or when you looked at your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend when you first fell in love. It’s that gentle, calm, happy feeling… Hopefully.

At least do it when you give a presentation, okay? 🙂

Anyway, the thing to avoid is staring! It’s super-uncomfortable and will make you look like a crazy person. But if that’s what you intended, then okay, go for it. Otherwise, do not stare!

Okay, so that was eye contact when presenting.

And the three things were:

  • Number one, look at every part of the audience.
  • Number two, look directly at one person and speak to that person for about 2 seconds.
  • And number three, smile with your eyes.

Eye Contact When Someone Asks A Question Or During Q&A

Now, when someone asks you a question during your presentation or Q&A, there’s a very specific eye contact technique that I want to teach you. It was used by Bill Clinton during his debate with George Bush, Senior. And I highly recommend checking out that video after you watch this to see exactly what I mean. Okay, so what’s the technique?

Well, again, there are three steps:

Step one:

Make eye contact when the person begins asking you a question and move closer to that person without breaking eye contact.

If you’re on a stage, move to the edge of the stage and stand in front of the person. If you’re in a room without a stage, then move to about 5 feet in front of the person. The idea is to get as comfortably close as you can because this will create a connection between you and that person.

Step two:

Really easy… Shut up and listen.

Give the person your full attention and listen without interrupting. The worst thing to do during a presentation is interrupting someone who is asking you a question. That person is directly communicating with you so it’s a great chance to connect. Don’t ruin it by interrupting.

And Step three:

Smile with your eyes like we learned earlier and also smile with your mouth.

This will show the person that you really care about what he or she is saying because you’re paying full attention and inviting the person to relax and speak.

And that’s it!

You just learned eye contact techniques for when you’re presenting and for when someone asks a question. Lemme just quickly summarize what we learned.

First, eye contact when presenting:

  • Number one, look at every part of the audience.
  • Number two, look directly at one person and speak to that person for about 2 seconds.
  • And number three, smile with your eyes.

Second, eye contact when someone asks you a question:

  • Step one, make eye contact when they begin speaking and move closer.
  • Step two, shut up and listen.
  • And step three, smile with your eyes and mouth.

There you go!

Now you can check out that video with Clinton and Bush:

If you have any questions or comments, please ask or leave your comment below this video.

Thanks and see you again next time.