As an introvert I have struggled for years with making eye contact with people. As a performer this made things really hard because finding it hard to look people in the eye made the audience feel even more daunting. If you are avoiding looking at people, how can you focus on connecting with them? In this video I tell you a way to experiment with eye contact that might help you.
Most people know that confident people are better at eye contact, but did you know that improving eye contact can actually improve your confidence? You might fear that looking at people will cause you to be more nervous or that you might be overwhelmed, but the opposite is true….. (for the transcript see the bottom of the post)
p.s. We had a discussion about eye contact and how it can help you in The Fearless Performer Facebook Group, you can see the video of it here: Eye Contact Discussion
Would you like to be more fearless as a performer?
Practice and preparation are vital for a good performance. But more often than not it’s what we think in the 5 minutes before we perform that determines whether we can produce the sort of performance we have prepared for.
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“I ‘d like to talk to you today about eye contact because, as an introvert, one of the biggest things I’ve struggled with in life is making eye contact with people. I find it really really quite hard and it wasn’t until I became a life coach that I realised why, and the reason is for me, and I think for a lot of people, it’s not about us seeing them it’s about them seeing us. You know the old adage of the eyes being the window to the soul.”
“If you look someone in the eye and they look back at you then they see you and that can be really, really daunting and so I wanted to share with you three ideas today (and there’s the barrister in me it’s always three things).”
“The first thing is that eye contact. When you make it can actually be reassuring, and trust me I have resisted it for years, but when you look at somebody and you look with curiosity, you look to find out what’s going on for them then you’re not thinking about what they’re thinking of you. When you look them in the eyes and you think “I’m curious as to what they’re thinking, I’m curious, not what they think about me, but what they’re thinking.” What are their concerns? What’s going on for them? When you look with curiosity it pulls you out of yourself, it distracts you from thinking about yourself and it also helps you think about them. Now how does that help with performing? That’s what you can do with your audience we’re so scared of looking at our audience so often, but actually eye contact can be really, really empowering.”
“The second thing is even if you think you’re really good at eye contact, and you may well be, there’s also a sort of eye contact that is lacking in curiosity. When you look at somebody but you’re looking to make eye contact and you’re not looking to understand, you’re not looking to hear what they have to say and see what their what’s going on for them, you’re looking to make sure that they’ve got your point and they’re listening to you. And this may not be you, but it’s definitely me at times, and I catch myself at this and although you’re making eye contact it’s not the sort of eye contact that will benefit you. It’s not the sort of empowering eye contact, it’s one where there’s still a barrier. So although you’re out there you’re not letting them in.”
“The third thing I wanted to say about this eye contact is that I believe it’s something that we all, especially with everything that’s happened with the pandemic and everything that’s going on, we all, that will warm all of us. That will help all of us. If we can go out and use this curious form of eye contact to connect with people then we can achieve good things not just for ourselves but for the people with whom we are connecting. So I would love for you to go out and experiment with some curious eye contact and remember that, yes this is really powerful in performance, to be able to look wherever you want and not feel constrained that if you look up somebody might see you, or not have to just be out there but somewhere in the middle, where you’re curious, is really, really empowering, but it’s also really empowering in our everyday lives.”