Do Your Audiences Trust You?  - At The Podium
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Do Your Audiences Trust You? 

Question Marks And Man Shows Uncertain Or Unsure

Do Your Audiences Trust You? 

Your instinct is to answer yes. The problem is that you can’t answer yes to my question because this is a blog post, so I can’t hear you say yes, or see you nod your head. And that means I’ve just asked a rhetorical question—a question I don’t expect you to answer.

Is it still a rhetorical question if I’m standing on a stage in front of an audience of speakers? Probably, except in that case I'm not really looking for an answer because my next sentence is going to be something like: “We all want to believe our audiences trust us when we’re standing on stage, but the truth is that if they don’t know us, they don’t have a reason to trust us. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today… ways to earn the trust of our audience.”
Rhetorical questions are an interesting and sometimes entertaining device—as long as you remember that they subtly influence or persuade the listener. Not a big deal if you ask questions like:
  • Can fish swim?
  • Can birds fly?
  • Do dogs bark?
The answers to those questions are more of a joke than anything else. But what about rhetorical questions like these:
  • Who cares?
  • Who do you think you’re kidding?
  • You didn’t think I would say yes to that, did you?
Sometimes, speakers can get so wrapped up in sincerely wanting to share their great content that they end up asking rhetorical questions, without realizing how those questions might make some people feel about themselves or their situation…
  • Don’t you want to be a success?
  • Don’t you want to make a difference?

So, let me ask you again. “Do your audiences trust you?” Does it sound like the same simple question that’s at the top of this newsletter? Or is it something more? (Pardon me for slipping those last two rhetorical questions in… I just couldn’t resist!)

It’s paying attention to details like this that will separate you from other speakers. Make sure your rhetorical questions aren’t (unintentionally) misleading or misdirecting your audience, and your audience will have all the more reason to trust you.

P.S. Rhetorical questions are a great way to engage or persuade your audience--to 'stir the pot' as they say. You can read more about how to successfully employ rhetorical questions in your next presentation in this article titled: How to Use Rhetorical Questions in Your Speech.