Note From Cathy:
Dan makes some great points in this article. As someone who is vertically-challenged, I have long been aware that in addition to stepping off the stage or into the audience, standing behind a podium can also make me disappear.
To create intimacy with the audience, I like to move around the stage and make eye contact with audience members. When making eye contact, choose a few anchors—people who are responsive and involved audience members who will give you good reinforcement. (Tip: If you are afraid of speaking and intimidated when facing a crowd, instead of making direct eye contact you can look at a point a little over their heads. It will appear to the audience that you are looking at them, but you don’t actually have to look anyone in the face.)
Here are Dan Janal’s tips about putting yourself in the shoes (seats?) of audience members to be a more effective speaker: