Security Awareness Blog

Presenting Tip #7 - Eye Contact

This is presenting tip #7 in a series of my lessons learned and mistakes made over the past years. This may sound again like one of those small points that do not matter, but in the long run makes a huge difference. When presenting look people in the eye. I do not mean stare out in the audience in general, I mean always be looking at someone directly in the eyes, engage them. Every couple of seconds move onto someone else, especially if you are walking around the audience. This has several dramatic effects.

  1. By looking people in the eye you draw them in. You break down any psychological barriers and make your talk personal for them. This is especially important when presenting to large groups.
  2. By looking at people directly you can get a real feel for how they are responding. Are they leaning forward with interest, do they want more? Or are they working on their laptop or falling asleep? This helps you adjust your presentation style while talking.
  3. To help you keep eye contact, I recommend while presenting have your presentation laptop in front of you or off to the side where you can easily see it. This way you can read what the current slide is on your laptop and what slide will be next, without having to turn around and looking at the projector screen. You simply drop your eyes to your laptop, then back up to the crowd. Always keep that eye contact whenever possible.
Try this in your next talk, you will be surprised at how effective eye contact can be.