Am I getting eye-contact back from the audience? Are they nodding or shaking their heads? Are they laughing at my jokes and antics or are they oblivious to them? Can I see the emotions in their faces that I am trying to elicit? Are they taking notes? If children or youth are in the audience, do you see their upturned faces trained on you? When it comes down to it, do you feel it in your gut that the audience is with you? I don't know how to describe it exactly, but in every type of performance art that I have been involved in, be it music, drama, or speaking, I can sense whether or not the audience is engaged with me. If I feel I am starting to lose my audience, I take an intentional pause - which tends to grab attention by itself, and then change something about my delivery like the volume or tempo. Or I tell a related personal story to reengage myself and them.
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