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Nailing the Eye Contact
Master the number one skill for connecting with your audience.

Many people think that giving a speech or a comedy routine is quite different from being in a normal conversation. In some ways it is, but in most ways there is very little difference. Thinking that it IS different, results in the speaker entering "speaker mode" or the comic turning on the auto-pilot. Keeping in touch with your natural delivery is critical to connecting with your audience. Don't forget that your delivery is never a monologue. Your talk or routine is always a dialogue. The members of the audience may not be speaking to you, but they are clearly giving you communication and feedback. This feedback is in the form of body language and eye contact. There is the nod of the head, the crossed arms, and the audience member in the back row sleeping! You're always giving energy and receiving it during your talk, says Lee Glickstein, author of Transformational Speaking.

Let's look at eye contact as an example. Good eye contact, in my opinion is "conversational". You genuinely look at one person at a time while speaking. Don't spray the room with eye contact. Start your talk by delivering your first three sentences to just one person. The truth is, when you make solid eye contact with one person the whole audience feels included. As coach Max Dixon emphasizes, when you're delivering a critical point or funny line..."land the line"...deliver the entire line to just one person and then maintain the eye contact after delivering the line for a beat or two. Experiment with this to experience the impact. When you come to a punch line deliver it to one person, nail the eye contact and maintain it after the punchline to magnify its impact. Hint: You'll have even better results delivering your funny line to an audience member you've already noticed having a good time, smiling, or giving you positive body language.

Copyright 2006 by John Kinde

You may republish this article with the following credit line:
"Copyright by John Kinde, who is a humor specialist in the training and speaking business for over 30 years specializing in teambuilding, customer service and stress management. Free Special Reports: Show Me The Funny -- Tips for Adding Humor to Your Presentations and When They Don't Laugh -- What To Do When the Laughter Doesn't Come. Humor Power Tips newsletter, articles and blog are available at www.humorpower.com."


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