“OMG!!! He’s singing straight to me. I felt that. We shared a moment right there. OMG!! Did you see how he looked in my eyes? Do you….do you think he wrote that song about me?!?”
I stood behind the 17-year old girl who said this and smiled in the back of the dark and noisy club. I knew my clients, the hot rock band playing on stage, had done what I was hoping they would do – not only give a great show, but really CONNECT with their audience. And they did.
My client portfolio is pretty diverse – I am very grateful to be the Personal English Coach to rock stars, politicians, TED speakers and CEOs, among others. And guess what? They all want to work on the same thing – creating a message that has impact, whether it’s in a song, in Parliament, or in the boardroom.
When talking (or performing) in public, it’s important that every person in the room feels that they have connected with you. That you’ve shared a moment (that will last till the end, thank you James Blunt, and now I have to get that song OUT OF MY HEAD). Of course you have to develop your vocabulary and your grammar as part of creating a strong message with your words, but you also need to use your BODY. A big part of this is eye contact.
Many people are not comfortable looking someone right in the eye – they find direct eye contact with strangers scary or even threatening. I totally get this. I’m not always great at it either. Whenever I’m in NYC I always avoid eye contact with the other people on the subway. It’s just an unwritten rule that you mind your own business. Unless, of course, Jay Z is on the subway with you.
If you have to talk in front of a large crowd, you can still use eye contact to develop a bond with your audience. If you cannot see the people individually (like when you are blinded by spotlights), feel free to ‘scan’ the room with your eyes. Make a circle. Make a figure 8. Don’t leave a face unlooked at. Many people in the room will not even be aware that you cannot see them (my pop stars rocking that stage could not see anyone) but that doesn’t matter. They will see you looking right at them and feel the energy of your message. That’s pretty easy to do in a room full of people you can’t see.
But what do you do in a more intimate setting? When you have to look at everyone to connect but you’re not good at eye contact?
You look at their third eye.
“Say what, mama?”
Everyone has a third eye (if they have a face). Your third eye is located between your eyebrows, just above your nose. If you look at someone’s third eye, they cannot tell that you are not looking them right in the eye. Try it. Right now. Go look at someone’s third eye. THEY WILL NEVER KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
So. Go out there and make contact with those around you. With your words. With your eyes. With your message. Build a bridge, and then build another one – god knows we need more connection in this crazy world of ours!
Let me know how it works out!
Winking at you with my third eye,