Forget Me Not
Eight Ways To Make A Lasting Impression
7. Make eye contact.
No matter who you're speaking to, eye contact is the key to keeping someone interested and engaged. "At least in American culture, research shows that making eye contact 70 percent to 80 percent of the time is considered normal and appropriate," says Demarais, who also notes that going below that amount may make you appear insincere.
This is especially relevant when giving a presentation, says speaking expert Lisa B. Marshall, who suggests that, in this type of situation, you make eye contact at least 90 percent of the time. "Particularly at the beginning of a speech, many speakers are nervous, so they tend to look for the reassuring faces—ones that are smiling, nodding and encouraging," she says. Feel free to use this technique to ease your way in, but remember to include the entire audience as you move forward, to avoid losing the room. If you have trouble making direct eye contact when speaking in public, then Marshall suggests looking in between people. "The most important thing is that you face the crowd," she says.
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