Types of Nonverbal Communication Eye Contact
Of all types of nonverbal communication, one of the most
important is good eye contact. Good eye contact engages us with the
people we are talking to and allows us to establish a personal
connection with them. This is equally true when talking one-on-one with
someone, or talking to a group. But what do I mean by good eye contact?
Have you ever been in a situation when youre in a conversation with someone;
they seem to be talking to you but theyre not looking directly at you. Instead,
theyre looking over your shoulder, or somewhere else. How did it make you feel?
Were they really interested in you? Perhaps you felt they were deliberately
avoiding eye contact because they were not being
truthful. How did that make you feel? You
see when we communicate, its not just the words we use that are
important; its also the many types
of nonverbal communication we make use of such as our body movements, postures, facial
expressions and eye contact.
Eye contact during a presentation
Ive seen so many people start a presentation and within seconds are looking at their notes or
the screen. Just think of the impression this
gives your audience on two levels: 1) It looks like youre not sure about the
subject youre about to talk about, and 2) it appears youre more interested in
your notes than with them as real people. And if you are not interested in them,
why should they be interested in you and what you have to say!
So, what can you do to avoid this and get your presentation off to a good
start? You can make sure you have that first minute of your talk
completely word perfect. You experience greatest anxiety at the beginning of a
presentation, so having the start of your talk memorized makes you more
If you feel awkward about making eye contact with a group of people, look for
a member of your audience with a friendly face and establish eye contact with
them first. You can then gradually make eye contact with the rest of the people
in the room.
Once your presentation gets going, of course you will need to glance at your
notes. Theres nothing wrong with that. Look down at your notes, get the
information, then look up and deliver it face to face. This makes you feel and
Try to keep eye contact on one person for 3 to 5 seconds or until completing
a thought, then move your eye contact to another person. Steady eye contact
shows interest and honesty, and encourages participation. Dont allow your eyes
to dart consistently around the room. This is distracting for your audience and
is perceived as nervousness. You should also avoid focusing too long on one
individual as it may make that person feel uncomfortable.
If you have an important point to make, look at your audience. The point is
much more powerful when its delivered directly at the audience rather than
thrown away at the screen or to you notes.
If someone asks a question, make eye contact with that person. It shows you
are interested in them and what they are saying. Then keep eye contact with them
until you have answered the question.
For more information on other types of nonverbal communication, see
Presenting Effectively: is Body Language Important?
Return to Return to Effective Verbal Communication from
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Copyright © 2008-2009 Presentation-Power-Tips.Com. All