Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Delivery: Using Eye Contact to Captivate Your Audience

Delivery: Using Eye Contact to Captivate Your Audience

We said last week that even a great message could get lost in poor delivery. Besides tips for using your voice, what else can help ensure that your delivery is at its best?

Eye contact.

Have you ever sat in an audience and observed a speaker with no eye contact? They rarely look up from their notes but are glued to their manuscript.


Even worse is the perfunctory use of eye contact. Here it seems the speaker has told himself or herself to look up occasionally but they do it in a very predictable back and forth manner.

Look up to the left.

Look up to the right.


Over and over again.

Pretty soon you feel as if you are observing a spectator who is watching a tennis match!

A better way to make sure that your eye contact is effective is this:

~ Know your message! The more familiar you are with your notes, the less likely you will be to be tied to them, unable to look up for long.

~ Vary your view.  Not in a tennis match manner, but a natural way. Pick three or four locations throughout your audience. You may even want to lock eyes with some friendly faces you see. You need not make eye contact with each individual, but studies show that if you make sure to look at each section of the audience (left, right and center) in a varied manner, they feel as if you are speaking to them.

~ Make sure you don’t always return to your notes before looking at a different section. This will help to avoid a predictable and boring eye contact effort. Perhaps you are looking at the center of the audience. Turn your glance to the left side and talk for a minute or two. Then scan to the right side and focus on them for a few minutes before looking back down.

~ For added effect, talk directly and obviously to one person. This can be a great way to make a serious or humorous point, especially if there is a question posed to the audience in that section of the message.

~ Occasionally you may use eye contact to role-play.  Are you telling a story? Replaying a conversation with your husband out loud? Become an actress acting out. Use eye contact as you “speak” to the various characters.

With effective use of eye contact, your delivery can go from boring to bang-up!


Just this week I read an astounding paragraph written by Ken Davis in his book Secrets of Dynamic Communication.  He says, “Several years ago we did a survey of 2,500 people leaving church services, youth meetings, conventions, and conferences.  Although the survey was conducted less than fifteen minutes after the message, over 70% of the people leaving those meetings had no idea what had been communicated.  Of the remaining 30%, some could remember a joke or illustrations, but most couldn’t identify any purpose of direction for the talk.”

What discouraging statistics for speakers!  But it doesn’t have to be that way for you.  There are some basic elements in messages that can reverse those statistics.  If you want to know how, sign up today for “Unforgettable:  Creating Messages that People Just Can’t Shake”.  Here’s the basic info, and you can register on our Group Services page.  I hope you’ll join us!  (Note:  Although the recording can be purchased a month after the call, registering for the call live has some extra benefits.  You receive a handout, are able to participate in the Q & A and receive the recording link to listen to again if you like.)  ~Amy

Date:  Thursday, November 8

Time:  8:00 pm EST

Amy shares six keys supported by brain-science and research to creating unforgettable messages. Based on the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, Amy translates these innovative principles into a checklist for speakers desiring to create compelling messages.  She will teach you to:

  • Create tension that keeps your audience engaged and listening.
  • Communicate a “sticky” central truth.
  • Implement creative story-telling to strengthen your message.
  • Utilize your audience’s emotions to imprint scriptural truths.

Click here for registration.

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