Articles tagged: eye contact

Your eye contact impacts your ability to connect with your audience and, by extension, your effectiveness as a speaker. In this article, we offer simple strategies for producing more eye contact and better eye contact.

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Making eye contact with an audience is one of the most terrifying things about presenting a speech in public. Because it’s scary and difficult, several myths about eye contact exist to help us cope with our fears. These myths swirl around meeting rooms, conference halls, Toastmasters clubs, and classrooms, and if you listen closely, you might hear presenters whispering them to one another.

Unfortunately, none of these myths help a presenter’s delivery.

In this article, you will learn why these myths don’t work, and discover how you can move toward effective eye contact instead.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Reading a speech is not the recommended way to deliver a speech.

But, there are many occasions where you may find yourself in exactly this situation, whether due to the circumstances of the event or unavoidable constraints on time. Or, maybe you’ve got to read a speech that you haven’t written!

When you must read a speech, are there ways to enhance your delivery? Two Six Minutes readers approach this question from different perspectives:

Patricia McArver writes:

How should a speechwriter mark up copy so that the speaker will deliver the message with emphasis and pauses in the right places? As a writer, you think it’s obvious, but that’s not always the case.

Jacob Miller asks:

Do you have any tips for annotating a speech? When I try to read my speeches, I frequently get lost in the print, and sometimes I put the emphasis in the wrong places. Is there anything I can do other than the obvious — practicing more?

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Editor’s Note: As I watched the video contained in this article, my 7-year-old daughter peered over my shoulder and proclaimed “Dad, she’s doing bad stuff.”

True, but sad, since so many speakers perpetuate these communication barrier habits. I invited the video’s creator — Stacey Hanke — to share it with Six Minutes readers, and here is her article for you.

Most individuals are unaware of the static they create when they communicate. What do I mean by static? Static is created when what you say is inconsistent with how you say it.

For example, suppose you’re having a conversation and the other person says, in a boring, monotone voice, “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work with you.” Their facial expressions are lifeless. They never look you in the eye while they’re fidgeting with a pen. Most likely you’d question their credibility and knowledge, and not take action on what they have to say.

This article will increase your awareness of the static you are creating for your listeners, and give you practical, immediate tips to have more impact and influence.

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This article reviews a wonderful speech by Jacqueline Novogratz about escaping poverty, which was delivered at TED in 2009.

In this speech, Novogratz demonstrates several strong speech techniques, including:

  • A direct opening which immediately captures interest and provokes curiosity;
  • Contrast as a rhetorical device;
  • Relating to the audience;
  • Complementary visuals; and
  • Masterful delivery.

This is the latest in a series of speech critiques here on Six Minutes.

I encourage you to:

  1. Watch the video;
  2. Read the analysis in this speech critique; and
  3. Share your thoughts on this presentation in the comment section.

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By now, you know that you should be complementing your speech with gestures.

But do you know how big these gestures should be?

In this article, you’ll learn to match the size of your gestures to your audience and venue.

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Is your body dead when you speak, or does your constant motion give your audience headaches?

Does your face signal fear or does it signal excitement for your topic?

Do your hands vibrate, or do they punctuate your words?

The fifth Toastmasters speech project encourages you to make every body movement enhance your speech rather than detract from it. This article of the Toastmasters Speech Series examines the primary goals of this project, provides tips and techniques, and links to numerous sample speeches.

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