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Eye Contact - Good For the Audience…and You!
I met someone on the golf course recently. We connected quickly and became friendly. This lasted for the entire round of golf, but all this happened because of the first impression and contact. We looked at one another, shook hands, and began our conversation. My new friend is a TV sports anchor. He is accustomed to communicating with people directly - in person and through the camera. We connected first with our eyes!
If you watch television you know that eye contact is a key connection between people, newscasters and talk-show hosts read information as they look through teleprompters into a camera. As we watch the program they appear to be talking directly to us!
Television has dramatically changed the value of eye contact. Standards are higher. We expect people to look into our eyes, and we are suspicious if they don't. In our culture, eye contact signifies trust, confidence, and believability. So a business communication situation will demand the same focus and attention that we get when we watch television. Eye contact is good for the audience!
Eye contact is also good for you. It keeps you focused. People understand you better when you stay on track, talk in crisp and clear sentences, and get rid of "junk" words. Eye contact is the foundation of clearness of speech.
So practice your eye contact in individual, one-on-one meetings. And then use that same connection in small or large groups. Have a series of one-on-one conversations.