Eye contact can be daunting for many of us. There are, of course, many factors: your gender, age, emotional state and who youare speaking to all affect your inclination to make and sustain eye contact. However these varying scenarios impact our ability to lock eyes with another person, there is one, unchanging truth: eye contact is essential in building, strengthening and maintaining meaningful connection.
Some people call them filler words, others might know them as crutch words; irrespective of name, these are any sounds, words or entire phrases that does not contribute to the meaning of a sentence. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the odd one, even in public speaking. Chronically overused, however, they can become an annoyance to an audience and a severe hindrance to the clarity of your message.
Though every individual finds themselves in a unique position on this journey, I believe there are two main stages of development. One is the transition from fear and anxiety to confidence when standing and speaking to a group of people. The other is the cultivation of craft and technique for maximum impact. I hope here to provide a general foundation that will prove useful to anyone, regardless of where they are currently placed with their level of public speaking experience.
With any progress, there is a price to be paid. The question that each must answer for him or herself is this: Am I willing to pay that price?