Tip #3 of the Top10 Tips for a More Confident Performance–Eye Contact

February 28, 2020

Tip #3 of the Top 10 Tips for a More Confident Performance

Today I’ll be talking about Tip #3: Sing TO Your Audience, Not AT Them

This tip hits on an issue directly related to how confident you are with your voice: eye contact.

Voice clients in my studio often cringe when I start talking about this subject, and for good reason. Looking people in the eye is an intimate act, whether you’re telling a joke at a party, having a one-on-one conversation or singing to an audience.

The first way to improve eye contact is to be aware that your voice goes where your eyes go.

If you’re looking up, that’s where it seems you're directing your voice. If you close your eyes for most of your performance, your energy and voice are directed inside yourself. Staring at a music stand or lyric sheets on the floor? You can guess where your voice ends up.

When your eyes “hang out” in any of these places, it feels as if you’re singing “at” us, not “to” us.

To practice making more eye contact, imagine the room you’re performing in and divide the audience into quadrants (left front, left rear, right front, right rear). Pick one quadrant and sing for just a few seconds to that area.

Visualize yourself singing to each quadrant of the room and if the room’s small enough, make eye contact with each person for approximately 3 seconds.

If you make eye contact longer than that, you’ll feel awkward and so will they. The key is to keep moving within the quadrant and from quadrant to quadrant. Even if you don’t make eye contact with every single person in the room (and you won’t, unless it’s a very small audience), they’ll all feel like you’re singing to them!

At first, you might feel very threatened by the intimacy of looking in someone’s eyes while you sing. It’s just a physical sensation and if you can stay with it for 3 seconds and then move to the next person or area, you’ll realize that the sensation is getting less intense and it’s getting easier to sing “to” your audience. Lastly, don’t shift between quadrants in a predictable way or you’ll make less of a connection with your audience.

Practice eye contact to all four quadrants before you get on stage so that it begins to happen automatically. Assuming you’ll just “turn it on” when you start performing is unrealistic.

Want to be a confident singer who makes a powerful connection with the audience? Start practicing eye contact today!


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Mark Bosnian

Mark is an award-winning songwriter and professional voice coach with 30+ years of experience teaching people how to take center stage. He has toured nationally with the 80's hit band Nu Shooz and coached Grammy award nominees, American Idol semifinalists, and singers on The Tonight Show.