The Most Important Non Verbal, Eye Contact

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Media trainer Russ Rhea points out how to avoid what could be the biggest distraction with on-camera media interviews and presentations. If you have wandering eyes. you will quickly lose engagement with the audience.

Hi, I’m Russ Rhea with the Predictive Media Network. This time coming to you from the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountain in Fort Collins, Colorado. In our training workshops for both media interviewing and presentation skills, we cover important nonverbals. When you’re trying to get a message across and be memorable, it’s just as important how you say something as what you say. And one of the most neglected nonverbals and probably the most important is eye contact.

In a media interview, for example, you almost always wanna maintain consistent eye contact with the reporter or the person asking the questions, particularly in a live interview on camera.

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It is very distracting to the audience when you don’t maintain consistent eye contact. Now, it’s consistent eye contact when talking. If it’s a recorded interview or when a camera’s not involved, you can glance down at notes or break eye contact while the reporter’s asking the questions or, better yet, pause a little bit, look down, but when you’re about to talk, engage once again in the eye contact. Another really critical thing is when you’re facing group questions.

The natural tendency is to have your eye contact wander and involve everybody in the room or wherever that setting is, but if you’re on camera, that can be very distracting to have wandering eyes like that. So, a very simple rule and here’s a good example of that is to maintain consistent eye contact with the person who just asked the last question. –

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Here’s a quick tip when you’re giving a presentation, particularly to a large group, with eye contact, rather than having wandering eyes, which could be very distracting, a very simple thing to do is the three by five rule. Simply divide the room in thirds, right, center, left. Spend five seconds on the right side, five seconds in the middle, and five seconds on the left. So, you’re spending a little time on each third of the room. It’s smoother and not as distracting for the audience.

We have a lot more tips on nonverbal things like posture, facial expression, avoiding filler words, at our website, Thank you for watching.