Here are some thoughts about how your eye contact can help you and your audience feel more connected:
Standing before an audience, you can choose to connect with your listeners, truly to contact them rather than just talk at them. “But they’re all LOOKING at me!” Well, yes, they are. Why? Because you have something to give, to share. You have an idea that will educate, enlighten, entertain or encourage. Perhaps you’re there to awaken them to a new view, inspire them to take action, encourage their efforts. You might have to inform them of bad news, or to comfort them during a difficult situation. Whatever your purpose, it’s your job to touch them in some way. Communication is a contact sport.
How to reach them? Realize that this is not all about you. It’s about them, their desires, their needs. Care about them. Learn about them ahead of time. If you can, visit with some of them in the minutes before you step up to present; find out about their lives, their interests, why they’re there. This contact, when genuine, is felt. It makes you human! It helps them hear you.
At the risk of sounding like a old Hallmark greeting card: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”