I often give this recommendation: “If you say “Hello,” wait for an answer.”
It should be obvious. However, many times we just behave automatically. We come onto the stage and we begin like this: “Hello, my name is Jean-Marc, and I am here to talk about...”
This “Hello” does not mean “Hello.” It has become dead, As public speakers, we want people’s conscious attention. So, when we say “hello,” let’s pause. It takes consciousness to listen and respond. Sometimes, audiences don’t react, even when given time. For them, “Hello” is just the normal sound at the beginning of the “Speaker starting to speak” pattern. The unconscious mind just checks out that everything is normal; to ensure there is no need to muster energy for conscious attention. A neuroscientist would certainly explain all of this in a very interesting way...
What we want to do is trigger a special reaction in our audience’s heads: “Wait! Something is going on here! Let's pay attention!”
Usually, our audiences are grateful for the unexpected change in old patterns. We are rarely over stimulated when sitting in an audience, listening to speeches. A boost of dopamine is always welcome, so let’s give people what they need and love. Let’s break the old patterns.
Let's sit down when they expect us to stand, let's repeat what we have just said when they expect us to go on, let's talk loudly all of a sudden, and later on, whisper, let's make a surprisingly long pause, let's say the exact opposite of our point....and explain that some people would say that but they are wrong.....
Sometimes, an audience looks at you right in the eyes and say: "Surprise me"... It's good to be able to do so.