Speeches and presentations - planning for an applause

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tzhu07, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. tzhu07 macrumors regular

    tzhu07

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    #1
    I don't get why people do this. They believe the audience will applaud during certain moments of a speech or presentation.

    And when it doesn't happen, there's this long pause and the speaker is thinking in his head "Ah ****".
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #2
    I have given countless speeches and presentations and I have never planned for any applaus. I actually find it annoying because it can cause my concentration to break.
     
  3. Roller macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #3
    Speakers should be ready to pause briefly for any spontaneous applause that occurs in response to something they've said. However, they shouldn't insert pauses with the expectation that this will occur.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #4
    Likewise. I, too, have given countless lectures, speeches, presentations and briefings and I have never planned for applause and nor have I expected it or assumed that it will happen.

    Sometimes, it happens, and - you should be prepared to pause briefly, perhaps comment on it - and then move on.


    Exactly.

    However, even more than applause (irrespective of whether absent or present), it is important - as a speaker - to be alert to the quality of the silence in the room.

    There are the idiots who will play on their iPad while you are speaking, - they are communicating not just boredom but massive (and discourteous) disinterest. Then, there are the silences which are utterly still, silences dense with an almost three dimensional depth; forget applause, - that will come later - those still silences are the times when your audience are intent, utterly rapt and paying close attention to every syllable you utter.
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #5
    Very, very well worded! :)
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    Location:
    The Anthropocene
    #6
    In the context that I give presentations in, it would be extremely bizarre for an audience to break out into applause in the middle of a presentation.
     
  7. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #7
    I generally use puppets to enhance presentations, and if there's no applause, I make them cry ...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #8
    If the speaker had said, "Let's give a big hand to ... "

    Then I can understand his reaction.
     
  9. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    Eloquently stated. Great point as well.

    I have only made a few official, scripted speeches in my life in front of a large number of people. I have never consciously planned for applause (except the end :D ). I believe you come off as more genuine and humble if you do not create suggestible pauses in places that could go either way. When you finish a sentence and proceed to the next and people start clapping so you must stop, not only does it reflect truer responses from the audience, it also creates a more inspiring environment. If I zone out and I hear someone start clapping mid sentence, I'm more prone to listen. If it falls into the strict sentence-clap-sentence-clap pattern it's easier for me to get distracted.

    That said, I have been to those speeches where the audience is clap-happy and wants to clap after every sentence (much like the state of the union, ugh). I can think of a couple occasions where the orator did not catch on to this and kept having to stop mid-sentence to allow the clapping. This clearly makes for a very disjointed and mildly redundant presentation.

    Ultimately I think you just have to go with the flow of things and not over plan. I'm not sure what your speech is, but if you can 99% expect applause at an obvious point, be ready for it. I think SkepticalScribe has it right. Judge your audience.
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    #10
    Pause for clapping? In any presentations I've given, the pauses have been for hecklers! :D
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    Speaking in public is something that (according to stuff I have read) ranks very highly on that ghastly mental list held in the inner psyche of many people as the most - or one of the most - unnerving thing - or things - they can possibly be asked to do.

    Because of this, they seek refuge in scripted remarks, (including full stops, commas, and pauses, under discussion, here). And they also seek refuge in that perfectly dreadful crutch called 'Powerpoint'.

    There is a reason why people joke about 'Death by Powerpoint'. It is because most of those who use Powerpoint forget that it is an aid, and prompt, a sort of tuning fork, a series of sign-posts and signals to what is being talked about, rather than The Whole Point Of The Exercise.

    While it is easy to become bamboozled by what technology has to offer when speaking in public, technology should not serve as such a crutch that it becomes the point, rather than a useful supporting act to reinforce what is being said.

    Personally, I never, ever, ever use Powerpoint. And, I don't use (fully) , scripted remarks and never have done so. Instead, I use a few key bullet points - hand written in fountain pen, along with a few vitally important facts - or stats - that I need to remind myself not to forget to include in a talk.

    Using carefully and completely scripted remarks means that you can run the risk of relying on them too much, and not being able to respond 'on your feet' if the unexpected happens as you are relying on the script. My advice would be to use the script as an improvised map, rather than as a handrail.

    Speaking without fully scripted remarks, allows for monitoring an audience, making endless eye contact, noting reactions, responses, attentiveness, whether or not they are getting it, (or whether they even want to get it) and that, in turn, also allows you to adjust the tone and tempo - and emphasis - of your speech. It allows for control by voice and eyes, and it means that any pauses - or applause, or heckles, or surprised or unexpected questions - which arise do so naturally, and can be responded to as a matter of course, during the speech, rather than disrupting your flow of thought.
     
  12. Roller macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #12
    Your post reminds me of an essay about presentations by Jay Lehr. Although written thirty years ago, it still holds true. Lehr's commentary, which can be found here, begins:

    "Let there be an end to incredibly boring speakers! They are not sophisticated, erudite scientists speaking above our intellectual capability; they are arrogant, thoughtless individuals who insult our very presence by their lack of concern for our desire to benefit from a meeting which we chose to attend."

    By the way, I rarely use PowerPoint - I much prefer Keynote. Many of the concepts that I teach are best conveyed through presentations that incorporate static graphics and animations. Used judiciously, they can be extremely effective.
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Anthropocene
    #13
    I very much dislike PowerPoint. I do my best to avoid it in lectures, and in small meetings I've started a transition to simply talking in front of a whiteboard with a few markers and an eraser whenever possible. However, there are still venues that effectively mandate this format (large conferences).

    It is very easy to give a poor PowerPoint presentaion and very difficult to give one properly. I swear that if this trend continues (it will) we need to offer an entire course on how to design a clean and effective presentation on this format.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #14
    I agree completely.

    Well, whiteboard and eraser - or the old blackboard and chalk - are still very effective! There is a reason they lasted so long, and were revered by generations of school teachers.

    Obviously, topics differ and what is needed - by way of equipment - to allow access to supporting data also differs.

    Personally, while I will never use Powerpoint, I will, and do, use large wall maps as they can be an extraordinarily effective aid to what is being discussed; (laser pens and pointing sticks help, here; once, an enthusiastic colleague who knew the country under discussion extremely well volunteered in advance of my briefing to highlight some contentious regions as I discussed and referenced them - it was astonishingly effective).

    The thing is, if you don't use Powerpoint, they are forced to listen to you, and concentrate on what you are saying, and think about it, rather than switch off, and read what is on the slide on the screen. (Who listens while reading?) However, that does mean that you must try to make it interesting, as they have to listen to you without the benefit (or nuisance) of other distractions.
     

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