Captivating Our Audience

Our textbook places a lot of emphasis on the correlation between ‘good’ rhetoric and power. Multiple factors influence the quality, and in turn, effectiveness of one’s speaking. I feel it often goes unnoticed that one of the most imperative things you can do as a ‘good’ speaker is properly analyze your audience and create a message that sits well with various types of people. Whether we are writing, speaking, or simply pondering to ourselves, it is incredibly necessary to keep in mind that different people place value upon different things. Sophists and modern day politicians can both vouch that properly defining the audience you are aiming to influence is crucial to your speech. Millions of arguments every year could be avoided if speakers continuously kept their audience in mind. An audience of one or an audience of one-hundred deserve the respect of a tailored message. We see public figures, entertainment, and social movements alike gain the most success when they produce a message that sits well with a wide range of individual interest. I think of J.K. Rowling as I explore the mobility that a fine tuned, yet largely accepted message can grant to a person. Miraculously, J.K. Rowling created a message that sat well with an audience of millions. Rowling’s words received such a positive response from readers that she not only persuaded an audience, but managed to create her own. Somehow the Harry Potter series captured ‘book nerd’ nine year olds and intellectually curious forty five year olds all in one page. J.K. Rowling’s messages inspired, intrigued, and at points seemed to sooth, a massive audience composed of completely different demographics, psychographics, and geographics. Perhaps Rowling focused more on what she could give the audience, rather than what the audience will do for her after they hear the message. Perhaps public speakers should pay closer attention to successful, seemingly selfless writers such as J.K. Rowling, as they sometimes seem to hold the golden ticket on how to captivate and motivate an audience. Could power possibly come to be ours the moment it stops being our motivation?


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