Public speaking involves a series of exchanges. As the speaker gives out information to the audience, members of the audience show their interest or lack of interest through their feedback. While the process is not really about who dominates or who is submissive, we still should not downplay the role of the speaker in setting the pace for the exchange. Audience’s presence at the venue already shows some level to readiness to listen. It is then left to the speaker to make it worth their while.
Public speaking is a creative process. A speaker can be likened to a sculptor with a massive supply of rough natural stones- the attention of the audience. While the stones have the potentials of becoming priceless works of art, the speaker, who is also the artist, must painstakingly shape the stones by performing a controlled removal of unwanted pieces. Every stroke of the chisel must be calculated and strategic. He or she must chip away all distractions until the hall is full of attentive and responsive people.
Just like a sculptor creates value out of a rough natural stone and the sculpture perpetuates the artistry of the sculptor, a speaker adds value to the audience while the audience’s response adds legitimacy to the speaker’s effort. Hence, if we want to know how successful a public speaker is, we look at the audience; and if we need to know how fortunate an audience is, we look at the speaker.
What are the distractions you have notice among your audience and how can we manage them?