PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

I just finished working with a group of individuals who present to a wide range of audience sizes from 4 to 700.  However, most of their work is with small groups.

What I observed with their eye contact was predictable.  When speaking, they gave most of their attention to the people seated close to them.  Only occasionally, if at all, did they glance at the audience members seated farther away. 

This is a common phenomenon.  A speaker habituated to small groups will concentrate on the first row or two of a big audience and, relatively speaking, ignore everyone else.  Without realizing it, they are sizing the audience to fit their normal experience.

I say “without realizing it” because it is an unconscious thing.  Everyone in the group I just worked with was unaware they were only looking at a few people until I gave them that feedback and they observed the video recording of their presentation.

If your typical audience is small you will have to make a conscious effort to extend your eye contact to the back rows when you speak to a large group.  It won’t happen automatically.

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