The Importance Of Eye Contact
Eye contact is very important when you are performing. Remember, the audience is there to be a part of your show. They want to feel like you can see them. Like you actually want them to be at the show. Performing with your eyes closed the whole time can make your audience feel shut out.
The majority of you are playing small venues to persons that have never met you before. How do you let someone into your world of music if you never even look at them? Imagine watching a performer you had never seen before keep his eyes closed the entire time. You might be interested at first, but eventually, you will turn away from the performer and they become background.
The key thng with audiences is to create pressure. When you look at someone in your audience in the eyes, you are creating pressure for them to look at you. The chances of someone turning away from your gaze is slim. It's human behavior. When someone looks at you, you look back.
At your next show, try it. Find someone in the audience not paying attention to you and just stare at them until they look at you. Humans have this weird sixth sense to know when they are being stared at. Their reaction is to find what is making them feel uncomfortable. I guarantee that this will work. And if they are talking with a group of friends, you bet their friend will also turn to see what this person is staring at.
Now this doesn't mean you should get into a staring contest or you are going to scare your audience away or creep them out. Creating these connections during your performances is key to you becoming a more successful performer. It is also key to getting people to pay attention to you and possibly even enticing them to buy your merchandise.
If you are uncomfortable looking at people in the eye, start practicing. It is a vital part to your craft and something you will have to master.