When Should I look at the camera?
As the author of “Look Me in the Eye,” I get asked this question about making eye contact on zoom at least five times a day. Well, here’s the short answer (warning: you may not like it): “When would you look someone in the eye when you’re in person?”
Most people are dismayed to find that we should be making eye contact with the camera at least 70-80% of the time. Besides the obvious benefits of direct eye contact: improved trust, credibility,
confidence and feeling heard, relationship experts say we need to make eye contact at least this often in order to build a relationship.
Looking at the camera this much can seem like a daunting task – and it is without a proven way to
practice and objective feedback,* but you can start building this skill by focusing on the times when
making eye contact will have the greatest impact on your audience – and when the lack of eye contact will do the most damage to your credibility.
One of those times when you should look at the camera is when you are making a key point. Just as telling someone you love them while staring at your shoes is less impactful (and much more confusing!) than if you looked them directly in the eye, so is delivering anything you want your audience to believe or remember.
That could be a value proposition, a key differentiator, or a consequence of indecision. Your statement will have much more power if you deliver it looking straight at the camera.
*Looking at the camera is just one of the critical new skills you need to excel in a virtual world. But you don’t have to do it alone! Check out my new Virtual Presence for Sales Pros Course below.