One of the best ways to get your message to sink in is to get the
audience thinking.
This may sound elementary, but when you are up
there spewing words at the audience, they may not have time to
think. That is one reason pauses are so effective. They give the
audience a chance to catch up and apply their own thoughts and
value systems to what you are saying.

Asking questions of the audience is a great way to force them
into the think mode.
“Has anyone ever been to Cleveland?” A
simple question like this zooms an individual audience member’s
mind to Cleveland if that person has been to Cleveland. If that
person has not been to Cleveland, he or she will be tuned in
mentally to see what you have to say about Cleveland.

“Have you ever had your keys in your hand one minute and the next
minute they were gone?” This question is the Has-this-ever-
happened-to-you? variety. To corral the most audience members
with a question like this, all you have to do is use a question
that you know (from your pre-program research) will relate to
most of the audience.

Johnny Carson before he retired, Jay Leno, and David Letterman
all use questions about current news to grab their audiences
mentally. They ask “Did you read today?” or “Did you hear today
about . . .? Johnny, Jay, and Dave know that if the audience has
heard about the current event they will feel a common bond, and
if they haven’t heard about it, they will listen more carefully.

To make sure these talented and funny talk show hosts reach the
largest portion of their respective audiences, they almost always
explain or recap the news item before they make the joke. This
gives those audience members that haven’t heard about the current
event a chance to get the humor.

Excerpt from “Wake ’em Up Video Professional Speaking System”

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