Eye contact is way more intimate than words will ever be.
A critical point about body language for speakers and presenters is how people judge our honesty and sincerity by our willingness to hold eye contact an appropriate amount of time. In a one-on-one conversation experts believe that holding eye contact for 7 to 10 seconds before breaking it off briefly and then regaining eye contact is normal and a sign the person is not hiding anything or lying. In one-on-one conversations avoiding eye contact is seen as a negative sign, as is holding eye contact for too long a period of time, which can be creepy and ominous.
In front of an audience the eye contact rule is slightly different ...