A privilege of SkillPath trainers is the great price of auditing other SkillPath seminars…no charge (there is always your time, opportunity cost, and submitting an eval form for the betterment of all, but that’s another post).
Yesterday I attended How to Become a Better Communicator, taught by a delightful Jo Massey. Jo’s philosophy for teaching communications is to just do it, practice, and practice some more. And indeed, there was plenty of hands-on stuff in this packed day. Especially interesting was watching people stand to speak, even in small groups of three or four. They were often terrified, though this isn’t a surprise; studies have suggested for a long time that folks hate speaking. Especially without ‘feeling prepared.’
One tip I thought Jo presented is useful even to a veteran speaker like me…
If you find yourself struggling with eye contact, concentrate instead on the bridge of their nose. It will appear to your listener like you’re making eye contact, and take a little pressure off you.
From a distance, you can also look over the tops of the heads of your audience (at least in some parts of the room). It accomplishes the same thing.
Nothing beats a dead-on eyeball connection, but this should help ‘the rest of us.’