Quick Delivery Tip - The Eyes Have It!

I’m kicking off the New Year with a Quick Delivery Tip to help you calm down your nervousness,  up your public speaking game and get off to a good start in 2018.

Lately I find an increased number of inquiries for custom designed coaching programs from people who are using public speaking as a vehicle to share their knowledge and position themselves as experts in their industries. 

From  professionals working within companies who are asked to speak at a company event or an industry conference, people who changed careers or formed their own business and are invited to share their wisdom as a guest on a podcast, to finance professionals required to articulate their value in high stakes investor presentations - the list goes on.          

Whatever the situation, there’s no question, there’s a whole lot of speaking going on!

The common concern is that in these new and unfamiliar settings, they want to become more articulate, engaging and comfortable. 

It’s critical to understand that if you want to put your best foot forward and demonstrate the value that you or your company provides, you must have solid public speaking Techniques at your disposal for getting your message across with confidence in different settings. 

For example, a media  interview requires short, concise and memorable answers. Whereas a company presentation/pitch requires a well-thought out structure that highlights who you are, who you work with and how the people you work with benefit from working with you. 

In all instances, there is a flow, a well-articulated story, crafted examples and a structure. And then of course, there’s The Delivery of The Message. 

Quick Delivery Tip:

So, here’s a  powerful Eye Contact technique I employ myself as a speaker and offer my clients with positive results. 

There are times when you may find yourself speaking with larger audiences. One of the first problems for presenters is where to focus. 

In normal one on one conversations, if the person you are speaking with averts their eyes or looks to the side of you, does that person instill a sense of honesty and trust? Most likely your answer is no.  In public speaking, being able to look someone straight in the eye and speak directly to them within a group setting, enhances one of your most important assets - credibility. 

However, the question I’m often asked in my programs is ‘How can I achieve eye contact with larger groups when I may not even be able to see them?’ 

The answer is:  The Z pattern.  

Break your audience into quadrants with your eyes, using a Z pattern. Which means, as you the presenter face the audience, start by speaking to the back section furthest away from you, to your left. (It will be to audience’s right). Then move to the quadrant furthest in the back section to your right.  Next rest your eyes in the center segment and then down to your left and over to your right.  

Z Pattern Final.jpg

This serves several purposes.

1.  Individuals within each quadrant feel as though you are speaking directly to them.  Even though you may not be able to see them well enough to make individual eye-contact.

2.  You are forced to include all sections of the audience.  It’s easy to remain safe and speak to those closest to you. Unfortunately, when you favor one side, you leave out the whole rest of the room.

3.  You ground yourself and your audience at the same time. No matter how nervous you might feel, you’ll look confident.

4.  And finally, you give yourself a great advantage in the beginning of your talk, by consciously  choosing to start by speaking with people furthest away from you.  You automatically release some of  the public speaking nervous energy racing through your body that's responsible for a host of uncomfortable physical sensations.

I understand this feeling. I experience it myself and use this technique to my advantage particularly at the beginning of a talk. We’re most nervous at the beginning of any presentation. If we can find ways to release the energy and get it moving in the right direction out of the gate, your body settles down. 

To learn more about how you can work with Ivy to create a customized Public Speaking program for your company or work privately through the ‘Join The Ivy League’ coaching program, contact us here for a complimentary consultation today!

©2018 Ivy Naistadt Creative Communications