In recent years, we’ve begun using the phrase “eye connection” in place of “eye contact” during workshops and one-on-one coaching. When the goal is to make each listener feel as if you’re speaking directly to them, contact isn’t enough. You’ve got to CONNECT with your listeners, giving a full thought to each person before moving on.
But how does this work when virtual meetings and presentations have become the norm for most of us?
Here’s what you typically see. You’re on a WebEx, Skype or Zoom meeting, and every time someone on the screen speaks, you see them looking DOWN. Why? They know eye contact is important and they’re trying to look at the faces on their screen. But virtual presenting isn’t the same as face-to-face communication—it’s a different environment and your skills have to adapt to the setting.
The question then is…where should you look while you’re speaking?? Directly at your video camera. Think of that little black circle as a black hole, and its gravitational pull has locked onto your eyes. Though you’ll never actually stare at it the entire time, you have to feel as if that’s what you’re doing. Yes, you won’t be able to see all of your listeners’ reactions and expressions, but that’s not as important as making sure you appear confident and engaging.
To make this easier, use some kind of prop as a reminder. Our picture shows one example—draw a pair of eyes or a face on a folded piece of paper, cut out the section between the eyes and position the opening directly over the camera. Alternatively, you can put two post-its on either side of the camera with arrows pointing to the lens, or draw a target on a piece of paper with the bullseye cut out and place the opening over the black hole.
Your coaches at EMS are available to help you and your teams perform at your best during these tough times. Contact us to learn how we’re bringing our one-on-one coaching and team workshops into the virtual world.