Attended a symposium recently at which a creaky old question was asked: “Is it possible to shock the audience anymore?”

With one exception, the panelists agreed that it was no longer possible to shock the audience.  The one exception felt that it could still be shocking to present extreme situations in a matter-of-fact way.

Here’s my opinion: shocking an audience is easy – too easy.  Here’s how you do it: wire the seats with enough voltage, then flip a switch.  I guarantee your audience will be shocked.

Seem like a silly answer?  As far as I’m concerned, if your main objective is to shock your audience, then it’s silly to try anything less than what I’ve suggested.  Why pretend you have any other agenda?

If, on the other hand, you have other aspirations in mind, then forget about superficial goals like shocking your audience.  Respect your listener and say what you have to say as clearly and convincingly as possible.  Shock tactics are for destroyers, not creators.

Leave a Reply