Scanning is a No No

Monday, March 7, 2011

Last Monday I attended the Professional Communication Skills Workshop at Simpson College. Maria Volante, the senior vice president of Dardis Communications, focused on one main part of communicating with others, eye contact.

I have given many presentations throughout school, but I have always been taught to scan the audience. Until recently, I learned that scanning is something that can hinder a speaker's presentation.

Volante said that when speaking infront of an audience, the speaker should connect each thought with one set of eyes. This doesn't mean to stare at your audience, but to make things easier on yourself.

Now your asking, "How is looking at one person while speaking about one idea make it easier for me?"

If a speaker is scanning the audience the brain is processing all of the different images and faces it sees. This often makes the speaker lose focus and talk faster.

You now have the answer as to why you tend to zoom quickly through a presentation.

Next time you have to stand up in front of a group of people try connecting with certain eyes. Your brain will thank you later.

Photo Credit: Eric Feng via Creative Commons


Nicole Dillenburg March 8, 2011 at 7:09 AM  

This is a beneficial tip because I have noticed that this is an issue with my presentations in the past. Hopefully this tip will help calm my nerves as well!

Kelsey Hagelberg March 8, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

I enjoyed this forum, and it was very helpful. It makes sense that by scanning quickly through an audience, the brain will trigger your vocal chords to increase in pace as well. Focusing on each individual within a room will calm your nerves and allow you to adequately present the material. Another positive aspect is that the crowd will become more engaged in what you are saying by the process of slowing down.

Morgan Fleener March 8, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

I really wish I could have made it to this event. Making video blogs in class has helped me with eye contact, but I know it is I still struggle with. If you make good eye contact with your listeners, they will take what you are talking about more serious. You appear more confident in your speaking.

Katie Buchholz March 8, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

I absolutley loved this workshop! It made me focus on what my strengths and weaknesses are in my presentation skills. I noticed that I tend to 'scan' my audience. These are helpful tips and I plan to use them in the future.

Maddie Boswell March 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM  

I have never thought of it that way before but that is very helpful. I was unable to attend the workshop so I'm glad you shared. I will definitely practice using this tip in the future.

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