Erica Marx

Eye Contact Count

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In small groups, speaker must hold eye contact with each person for 5 seconds at a time while speaking about any topic



learn to hold eye contact
helps speaker be grounded & connected to audience


Divide the group into groups of 5.

Each person speaks in front of the group about anything. They can literally ramble if they want to. Each of the listeners in the group holds both hands up for the person. The listeners will count silently in their head (1,2,3,4,5) and take one hand down once the speaker holds eye contact for five seconds.

Each hand = 5 seconds of continuous eye contact (each person has 2 hands, so each person will eventually be talked to for 10 seconds, either in 2 x 5 seconds or 10 seconds at once).

If the person breaks eye contact by looking away, the hand stays up. Audience attention should stay on the person.

The speaker can rotate as they choose between listeners (and they will do so naturally) but they must keep continuous eye contact with each person before a hand comes down.

Purpose of Exercise:

Cultivate ability to hold eye contact. Practice holding longer than comfortable.
Teaches people to avoid eye darting or scanning.
Helps audience feel connected with you.
Helps you be grounded -- darting eyes activate the flight or fight nervous system


Source: Sue Walden via Jenny and Ellen (Bolder Company)

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