Asking a questions during your speech and answering it yourself.

by Patricia
(West Virginia)

Q.When someone is giving a speech is it appropriate for them to say, "What does this mean for you?" and then they answer it themselves? This drives me crazy. Is it appropriate?

A. Rhetorical question: a statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered; "he liked to make his points with rhetorical questions" (Princeton Wordnet). Sorry it bugs you!

Actually, there's a lot more to it than that. It probably bugs you for a good reason: people just say it as a time filler, so it doesn't accomplish anything, nobody listens, and it just wastes time.
In fact, "What does this mean to you?" is generally a very ineffective question in any public speaking situation.

Much better is something like, "If you were in this situation, what choice would you make? Why?" That kind of a question encourages the audience members to think and reason, actually applying things in their own lives.

And that kind of question shouldn't bug anyone at all.

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