Connecting to your audience

If you want to connect to your audience, the communication skill that will help you the most is eye contact.

You must look at each audience member for at least two seconds to establish that connection.

Most people want to look at the friendly faces only: the ones who look interested and are nodding in approval.  But you must create trust, build a rapport and connect to those who might be disapproving, look mad or seem bored.

While two seconds may seem a long time to you, it is not.  Most of the participants in my seminars say that it is a sufficient amount of time for them to feel recognized.

If you need to practice, step into a conference room on your lunch break or after work.  Stand at the head of the table and practice looking at each chair for the count of two. This will give you a chance to feel what it is like to go around the room and to experience the two seconds.

Make sure you vary the pattern; don’t go around the room in order.  Look from side to side, front to back.

If you are in a job interview setting, share the eye contact amongst everyone in the room.  Do not let it throw you off if they spend most of the time writing or looking down at their questions.  Continue to look at each person for a sentence or two.

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