We all agree making direct eye contact with others in business is important, right? It conveys confidence, credibility, friendliness, and interest. So why do we see so little of it on video calls or virtual meetings?
Because it’s not easy! How to make eye contact on video is one of the most common questions I get asked.
Making eye contact on video is counter-intuitive. We are so drawn to other people’s faces that it feels more natural to focus on the other person’s image on our screen. We may even convince ourselves that we are making eye contact – after all, we’re looking at THEIR eyes, right?!
Here’s the inconvenient truth: while it may feel like you’re making eye contact when you do this, it doesn’t read as eye contact to the other person. In fact, it feels like you’re not paying much attention at all! And all those good benefits, like confidence, credibility, and likability go down the drain.
To make eye contact on video or virtual meetings, there’s no way around it: You need to look at the camera. It’s vital that we learn how to look at the camera and carry on a conversation with as much focus, passion, and intention as if our listener is seated right in front of us.
Fortunately, actors have been perfecting this skill for years. It is a skill which takes practice and commitment until you develop the muscle memory that makes it feel just as natural as looking at someone across from you in person. While I devote two chapters to the skills in my book “Look me In the Eye,” here are a few steps that will get you started toward making eye contact on video.
- Move your listener’s image around on your screen so that it is as close to your camera lens as possible. It’s unlikely that it will be a perfect match—but you should be able to see major expressions and changes in body language in your listener while focusing on the camera.
- Learn to leverage your peripheral vision to read body language. As well as when it’s necessary to make those more in-depth check-ins on your audience. Without this vital skill, it will be difficult for you to keep your eyes on the camera for any length of time.
- Instead of focusing on your listener’s image on your screen, mentally project their image onto the lens of the camera.
- Now, imagine that person’s reactions as you speak. This will keep your delivery well-paced and create a dynamic exchange.
- If you are talking to a group, still only focus on a single person in the camera as this will make everyone in the meeting feel like you are connecting just with them.
How to make eye contact on video is just one of the critical virtual communication skills you’ll learn in my book, Look Me In The Eye Using Video to Build Relationships with Customers, Partners and Teams. If you’re looking for more tips on how to engage customers and drive more sales on video, pick up your copy today on Amazon!
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