The importance of eye contact in communication cannot be neglected. Studies conducted over the years have affirmed that eyes play an important role in both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Researchers studying human psychology are of the view that non-verbal communication plays an important role in effective communication. Eyes are known as the "windows to the soul" and they express our emotions when words fail us.
Eye contact in communication enables us to develop a connection with the person we are speaking to and not making eye contact can send out signals to others that we are uninterested. Maintaining an eye contact doesn't mean staring constantly into the other person's eyes, doing this, in fact can send an offensive non-verbal message.
Public speaking still ranks highly on the list of most dreaded activities in the world, but there are times when we have to come out of our comfort zone and deliver a speech, especially in our professional lives. If you are an able orator and can impress people with your oratory skills, then your bosses are more likely to sit up and take notice. There are a lot of things that make a good speech, but as this article is on the importance of eye contact, we will focus our attention on the necessity of engaging your audience through effective eye contact.
While delivering a speech, it is important that you make eye contact with several people or groups of people. Fixing your gaze on one particular individual or group may make other members of the audience feel that they do not hold any importance to you and this can cause them to be disinterested.
This can happen when you spend more time facing or looking at a particular section of the audience, hardly turning to face others. It is important that you know an appropriate duration till which you are supposed to make eye contact with the members of the audience.
There is a difference between making eye contact with your friends and loved ones, and members of the audience. It is important that you remember that. When you’re speaking to one particular individual, all your attention is focused on that one person, but in case of an audience, you have to make sure that you make eye contact with as many people as you can. Successful orators agree that the way they use their body language to put their point across plays an important role in delivering an effective, well-received speech.
Jonas Ezeanya is an executive speech coach and presentation expert based in Lagos, Nigeria. Connect with him on LinkedIn.