Three things about public speaking that they emphasise in Toastmasters is the use of gestures, try not to umm and ah the whole time and what might be the most important in both public speaking and in public in general, eye contact.
Eye contact shows good confidence and shows that you are comfortable being you.
They say that in sales the first person to look away loses and that probably goes for negotiations as well although in saying that, I'm told that the strongest negotiating position is to be able to walk away and mean it. So that pretty much means breaking of eye contact, doesn't it?
How do you improve your eye contact?
I hate the kind of advice that you see occasionally where it is basically a Nike ad, "Just do it" or another one of my favourites, "Just be yourself" or the Mac Daddy of advice giving, "Just be confident."
Unfortunately with practicing eye contact there is only really one way, make eye contact with people.
This is what I suggest, start off by looking at but stare at people as they walk past you. After that and you have grown a bit more confident then you you might give a quick nod or the raised eyebrow greeting. Next you might give the smile and then finally the best one in my opinion, saying hello.
Some people say that they are scared to say help to strangers. Why is that? What are they going to do? "Hey, Mr. Policeman. That guy said hello to me. I want you to arrest him." I seriously doubt it.
OK, here's your homework. Over the next few days make eye contact with people that you might see regularly but you never acknowledge. It could be people at the store or station or gym or library. Anywhere really. Good luck with that.
Warning: Obviously sometimes you have to use your common sense and there are people and you know who they are who you wouldn't make eye contact with and that is fine. Don't!