Speak With Confidence – Arresting Attention

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When you have been speaking in public for awhile and you are beginning to speak with confidence you will notice that your audience’s attention may wander.An audience rarely pays attention automatically, their interest must be sparked and maintained by the speaker.

Many factors may cause an audience to become inattentive. One offender is monotony. When the listeners’ interest is obviously lagging, audience attention may be restored by attention arrestors.

Rhetorical Questions:

These are rhetorical questions the speaker puts out. He may ask, dramatically, “What are you going to do about it?” While he intends to answer that question himself, his technique arouses curiosity.

The speaker should of course be prepared for an un┬Čexpected answer from the audience, and if the answer is right, he should express his thanks. If it’s wrong, he should use that as an excuse to repeat the high points of his argument.
Take a Pause
The oratorical pause has a place in your delivery. In private conversation we frequently ask “Do you see what I mean?” or “Do you get the point?” During the oratorical pause, the speaker in effect is asking the audience, “Do you get what I say?”

Good speakers employ punch lines but sometimes the listeners are unprepared for them. The oratorical pause permits the audience to digest one point before you go on to the next.

The audience neither likes to lose out on a chance to laugh, nor to laugh and lose out on a good line. This is the place to pause.
His mastery of the oratorical pause makes Bob Hope’s appearances hilarious. He makes his point, then waits for it to sink in. If the praise is plentiful, he starts in again but adds another pause and so creates the impression that his comment was far funnier than he expected the audience to think it was. These might be called pluperfect pauses. There is no objection to a speaker using long pauses during delivery providing they mean something; but if the pause is a cover-up for a memory lapse that’s as bad as rattling through lines that are word-perfect but are delivered without change of pace or emotion. (The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak!)

To be able to speak with confidence you need to be prepared so that you can use the “pause” to hold attention and not because you have forgotten the words. Also the rhetorical question is great to gain the audience’s attention and get feedback from the audience to modify your speech if necessary.

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