“The Voice”, a Presenter, and Burlesque – First rule: Connect

Make a connection and draw attention with Eye Contact


In the connection economy creating an authentic connection with our audience is a benefit to us. The good use of eye contact creates that connection. Here are some examples of the importance of using good eye contact:

Recently during an episode of “The Voice“, coach Pharrell Williams is preparing a duo for the Battle Rounds along with mentor, Lionel Ritchie. One woman singer was not connecting to her audience and Lionel told her that it was a must for her to use her eye contact to create engagement or she was in danger of losing the round to her partner. Lionel turns to Pharrell and says, “Without eye contact, you are dead.”  

A month ago, I coached a senior manager/ Presenter for a high stakes presentation – one given to 250 of her firm’s top clients, her management, and her colleagues. This was the first time she would present in this forum in her longstanding career. This had to be successful.

Here is some of her feedback to me:

“Martha – it went so well!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I did everything you taught me.  I felt a little rumble in my tummy when I first started speaking but that went away once I made eye contact. When it was over I got a lot of positive feedback and my boss said I did a good job!

One gentleman told me how elegant I looked up there.”

…And now for Burlesque

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to sit in on a rehearsal for an upcoming Burlesque show. Burlesque is such a beautifully stunning art form that empowers. It is the art of the reveal – and the performer decides if and when – it’s incredibly powerful when done well.

The director observed one woman’s rehearsal and kindly said, “Something isn’t working here. Why don’t you start again and let’s see what we can do to fix it.”  With that the performer starts her routine again and wham! – it all became clear.  “OK. Now, do it once more and this time hold eye contact with someone in the audience (rehearsal room).”  I signaled to the young woman to keep her gaze with me. It made all the difference. It was irrefutable.

Get practiced using eye contact for the most authentic connection. It feels good to us and our audience. It is an avenue to build great trust.

In this time of device disconnection, the best thing we can teach our young people is to use eye contact when speaking with people.


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