Lesson 26º








Audience's reaction

During the speech the speaker should be looking at how the audience reacts (with interest, are they bored, with affection, with approval, with rejection, etc).

The worst thing that can happen is that you don't manage to capture their attention (it is even worse if the audience shows that they disagree with the opinion that is being presented).

If the public doesn't show any interest, you can not communicate with them.

You need to capture the audience's attention from the beginning of the speech. If you don't capture their attention then, it will be difficult to get it later on.

Therefore, you need to make a great effort: greet in a nice way, prepare a suggestive introduction, play with your voice, use gestures, looks, anecdotes, etc.

At the first sign that the public is loosing their attention you need to react as soon as you can.

If the audience disconnects for good it is going to be very difficult to get them back (although you want to, it is difficult to capture the thread of the argument).

It is more difficult to win over the audience that is sitting further away, therefore it is convenient, if possible, to move between the audience, bringing you closer to the audience.

Extending the speech can loose you your public's attention.

It is important to be brief.

This doesn't mean that the speech has to be necessarily short; it should last what it has to last, but it shouldn't go over too much.

Sometimes the audience will be against the theory of the speech.

When the speaker prepares the speech he should predict a possible reaction (normally one knows when his ideas can be problematic) and in the likely case that there is disagreement he can try and know the reasons.

This allows the speaker to take with him the answers to possible criticisms.

If the audience's reaction has been totally unplanned for and the speaker ignores their reasons, the best thing to do is ask them directly why they are rejecting your argument.

You need to give the public the opportunity to express their thoughts on the matter; listen to these carefully, then comment on how it is a respectaable reasoning, although different from your point of view.

What you shouldn't do is accept any type of criticism, as this will weaken your position (you will loose authority).

You shouldn't get entrenched in peoples points of view either by heavily criticising the public's arguments and starting an argument which infuriates everyone.

A public event is not the ideal place for a heated debate. Often paying the public attention is enough to win their sympathy and respect, although they disagree with the arguments put forward.

Anyway, the speaker should not confuse the contrary reaction of one person with the general contrary opinion.

When the speech comes to an end the audience usually claps. The speeker will sincerely thank those present, looking at the public and then leave the stand quietly.

Don't wait until the end of the applauses, or go back to the stage to receive a new ovation as if you were an artist.

You have to avoid gesture like lifting your hands and giving a victory sign, putting your hands on your heart, etc, neither should you make comments like "how you exagerate", "it was nothing", "I love you guys".

Once the speech has finished it is quite often a good idea to ask someone that has attended their sincere opinion of what it was like (strong points and points that need imporiving).

Every speech is a general rehearsal for the next event.