Speaker’s Eye Test

Have you ever learnt something, entirely by accident?

Few months ago, I had one such accidental learning and I am glad I did.

This how it unravelled.

I was a speaker at a Community event. The ex Prime Minister of Singapore ( Emeritus Senior Minister ) Goh Chok Thong was the Guest of Honour. We had several speakers that day.

As I spoke,  I noticed that the Guest of Honour was occasionally closing his eyes.

“Oh My God, am I boring him?”.  Looking down from the stage, I was surprised and confused.

Everyone else was paying rapt attention and responding well to my questions and humour, why is he sleeping? Then I concluded, perhaps he was tired due to his busy schedule.

Later, when we were having dinner together, he turned around to me and said,

“When some speakers speak, I sometimes close my eyes to just focus on the voice, as if I am listening to the speaker on radio. Then, I check whether I still feel connected to the speech, to check whether it is still impactful.

His act of closing his eyes was an eye opener for me. I call it the Public Speaker’s Eye Test.


That lesson came handy for me on 22 August 2013. On that day, after my semi final speech at the World Championship of Public Speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, I had an amazing experience, which is impossible to forget. With Kitty Hevener

Kitty Hevener, a visually impaired lady was in my audience at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. She came looking for me after my speech and said she could visualize the story of my speech through emotions in my voice and she felt like being in a roller coaster ride and the message of the speech meant a lot for her.

(My speech at Cincinnati was about my experience on a scary amusement park ride. This was the same speech I delivered in Singapore.)

So, What’s the point?

If you are a public speaker, your audience should feel the connection to your speech, irrespective of whether they see you live on stage, they see you on video or they hear you on radio. Interesting thought.

The Public Speaker’s Eye Test can help you to easily find out how you connect with your audience.

This is what you can do to test your own connectivity.

  1. Record your speech audio using your smartphone App or a voice recorder.
  2. Playback and listen to the audio. Do you like to listen to the ‘person’ you hear?
  3. Is your speech impactful? Do you feel connected?

If you don’t feel the connection and impact. Guess what? Your audience could be feeling the same. But don’t lose heart.

Work with your mentor or speech coach to fine tune your speech content, language and delivery.

I am glad I could share this amazing and useful learning with you.

If you found it useful, please share it.

© 2013 – 2014, Manoj Vasudevan. All rights reserved.