The Audience


Visakha Orators, India. Photo: Koka Prasad
Visakha Orators, India. Photo: Koka Prasad

In Agora, you always have a role, even if that role is that of an audience member. Why? Because Agora Speakers Clubs are expected to be friendly, supportive and safe environments for practicing public speaking.  The speakers are not experts; most of the time they will be extremely nervous and self-judgmental. Sometimes they will have self-esteem or confidence issues, even if they are not immediately apparent. Sometimes they will have extreme shyness and even the mere fact of standing in front of a group of people and saying a single sentence could be an ordeal for them. They will take anything that could be remotely seen (or imagined!) as negative and blow it out of proportion in their minds.


Don't be fooled by their credentials or past experience - nervousness and self-judgment is something you will never get rid of, you will only learn to accept it, control it and channel the energy that it generates in a positive and useful way.


"There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous, and those that are liars.". Mark Twain
"There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous, and those that are liars.". Mark Twain


All this means that the audience has also a role to play - to support, to be positive, to be respectful and to exercise restraint and tolerance.


To be supportive and to be positive means participating in applauses, listening carefully to speakers, looking at them in a supportive way and in other similar small expression of friendliness..


To be respectful is expressed in common sense good manners, such as not talking to your neighbors during a speech, not checking your phone every two minutes, etc.


Finally, to exercise restraint and tolerance means that you should hold back your desire to shout back, interrupt or make negative or disproving gestures at the speaker when he's talking about a subject with which you deeply disagree - religion, politics, social issues ..maybe even football..


Giving Feedback

In many clubs, the audience will be asked to provide feedback to a speaker.


Giving feedback to a speaker. Agora Speakers Kaunas, Lithuania.
Giving feedback to a speaker. Agora Speakers Kaunas, Lithuania.

Please try to be honest and detailed in your feedback. Don't just say that everything was perfect just because of politeness. Also, try to be specific - if there was something you didn't like or think could be improved, please explain it specifically.

NOTE: Feedback is not for debating or arguing with the speaker, for evaluating the contents of the speech, or for engaging in judging. Your goal is helping the speaker improve.  And of course, don't ask the speaker for a date! (yes, we've seen that, too). Stay professional.

If the subject of the speech was deeply disturbing to you, try to distance yourself emotionally from it when giving feedback.

Many clubs have preprinted feedback forms like this one:

Feedback Form

Usually the time for feedback will not be long - between 1 and 2 minutes after the speech. If you feel this is too short, write just the main impressions and finish your feedback after the meeting.

After you have finished writing your feedback, please wait for the end of the meeting before giving it to the speaker, to avoid disturbing the flow of the meeting and the next speakers.

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Page last modified on Tuesday July 21, 2020 12:21:18 CEST by agora.