Have you ever noticed that it’s weird talking to others wearing sunglasses? It bothers me actually that I can’t see their eyes to know if they are even interested in what I’m saying. They could be tuning me out while staring at the demonstration behind me, I wouldn’t even know. It is equally weird talking to a person who is obviously staring off into space; you begin to wonder if they are even hearing you or if they are in an alternate state of mind.
Eye contact makes a verbal exchange a conversation, otherwise you are just talking to air. While speaking in front of a group of people, it’s important to make direct eye contact with others, the audience feels involved and you are assured the attention is captured.
For speakers who get nervous and stare at the ceiling or the corner at the back of the room, the audience feels like I do when wearing sunglasses. They start to wonder if you are talking at them or with them, and if they decide you are talking at then they tune out and your effort of standing and talking is wasted.
Several components are necessary to make a presentation successful. The most important part is the content and structure, then delivery. The most important part of delivery is body language and eye contact. Every presenter must talk with each individual in the audience at every presentation for it to be successful.