Eye Contact

Whether you are brave or not, you must appear brave. The easiest way to appear brave - the magic touch of a good presenter - is to look directly at the audience. This gives the impression of being confident about your material. In your personal life you look at people when you talk to them. The secret for success with an audience is to appear to be having a conversation with them.

Look at them. Look at those to the left, to the right, in the front, in the back. Watch them intently to show how much you want them to understand. They will listen more intently and understand much better when they realize how much you want them to understand.

Look steadily at them. First at those in one place and then at those in another, looking at each place for 5-10 seconds or longer. If it distracts you to look directly into faces, look at the level of their faces but between faces. No one in a large audience will be able to tell you are not looking directly into someone's eyes. (Don't try this at parties or during coffee breaks or you will be thought of as evasive or extremely absentminded.) Beware of looking at the floor, or at the ceiling as you speak: The audience knows no one is lying down there, or hanging up there, and will wonder why you appear to be trying to make eye contact the table or the chandelier.

Above all, do not let yourself be taken hostage by 'PowerPoint' and the screen. Technology has permitted you to make beautiful slides; now trust it to remain in place behind you or beside you. Glancing only briefly at the screen to remind yourself what the audience is seeing or to use the laser occasionally to emphasize a point. Generally keep your eyes on the audience and earn their respect.

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