Most executive leaders I direct in the video world are great speaking to large audiences but usually need to be reminded of the importance of eye contact in video communication. Just as you would not want your friend or spouse looking all around while you’re trying to discuss something important the leader using video communication must keep their eyes focused on the lens. Addressing the camera without moving your eyes off the lens is the most effective way to convey authenticity to your audience. The camera might add a few pounds but who cares if your eye contact is insincere. For leaders addressing directly to the lens it’s critical to lock their eyes on the lens naturally. There may be times you may want to pause briefly and look off camera as if to gather your thoughts, however, do not think the camera will forgive wandering eyes when it comes to video communication.
On a less professional level I watch vloggers posting videos to multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Periscope, etc. In attempt to watch themselves on live platforms their eyes are constantly moving back and forth. Be very careful when watching yourself online instead of focusing your eyes on the camera. The camera and the audience cannot be fooled if you’re more interested in how your hair looks than connecting to the lens. It may reveal your true intentions to the audience you’re trying to sell. If you’re not telling the truth or not being authentic most people will feel the insincerity in your eyes and voice.
You have plenty of time to practice this eye contact discipline. If you’re in a professional environment doing a presentation in front of an audience be sure to own the content of your message before the presentation. If you’re interviewing others in a panel discussion in front of an audience be careful not to get distracted by allowing your eyes to wander off the panelists. If there’s a camera involved your audience will interpret it as insincerity.
If you’re reading a teleprompter straight to the lens in a professional video environment be mindful of the ‘deer in the headlights’ stare. You’ll scare your audience. It’s alright to blink. Also, don’t let the action behind the lens distract you from the message. (Hopefully most video professionals understand the importance of minimizing movements behind the lens.)
Remember cameras LOVE sincere smiles. Speak the entire sentence with a smile if it’s appropriate.
Use that twinkle in your eye to drive home key points. Speak love with your eyes.
Rule #1 for me is “Know your Audience!” With your audience in mind use your eyes to communicate your message from the heart. They’ll feel the difference and you’ll get the results you want.