How to Keep Eye Contact with a Large Innovative Presentation Audience
In training or innovative presentation coaching programs, people often ask instructors, “How can we really do effective eye contact with an audience of 500 to 2,000 or even more?”
The closer you are to someone, for example to your immediate front or close left and right sides, the more that person can detect if you are looking directly at him. The farther away you are from someone, the less he can see if you are looking at him eye-to-eye.
When you select one individual in the front row to look at, only a few people think you’re looking at them. The trick is to focus on giving individual eye contact to more of the folks in front of you. But don’t forget to look at the extremes of the room — right and left, very back, and balcony if there is one.
Look at the very back of a large room and select one person to gaze at. People in a large radius (perhaps 20 to 40 feet in size) around that person feel that you’re looking at them.
Avoid the following eye-contact no-nos:
Staring at your notes, the projection screen, the floor, or anywhere else except your group.
Looking only at friendly, supportive people who are nodding, smiling, and otherwise giving you positive feedback; spread your eye contact around the room.
Overdoing eye contact with specific people such as the senior managers, prominent and influential people, or the top decision makers. However, when you come to important parts of your presentation, look at the key people to emphasize your point and gauge their reactions.
Shifting your eyes; move your head and even your entire body to look around.