How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Applause tells you that audience is listening hard. Applause also tells other members of the audience and those elsewhere that you are good. And of course it helps make you feel appreciated, which is always a good thing.
One of the simplest ways to get applause is to ask for it. Of course saying 'please applaud' will not work, but you can get a good round of applause by saying something interesting or exciting then saying something like 'Isn't this the best?' or, more cheekily, 'Now that deserves appreciation!'
A neat way of doing this is to ask the audience to applaud itself, for whatever reason seems plausible, even 'for staying the course with me today'. In applauding themselves they will also feel they are appreciating you.
After calling for appreciation, wait for it. If you want to be bold, put your cupped hand to your ear.
Although easy, this is a difficult one to pull off and you have to have brought them to the right place first so they feel good and want to help you.
Another way of getting applause is to applaud yourself. You can applaud a person or organisation 'out there'. You can join in existing applause. You can give accolade to a fellow speaker (such as the one who left the stage as you join). Another neat method is to applaud the audience for being great, showing up, joining in, etc.
Start with a steadily rising pitch and volume. Then lower the pitch to a mid point to signal finality. Slow right down towards the end and put strong emphasis on the final few words.
It is generally better to sustain the volume, although it can sometimes be effective to end with a whisper, with people straining forward to hear your words.
A method used by politicians is a rising set of phrases that escalate in intensity and culminate in a powerful climas, such as 'We will fight. We will win! We will achieve our deserved destiny!!'
After you have given a rousing section of the speech, stop speaking. Look out and around as if you are expecting applause. Give them an extended silence.
A way to create closeness with your audience and so lead them to applause is to use an 'us vs. them' argument. Talk about how others oppress you or tax you or take advantage in one way or another. Amplify differences and highlight hazards from synthesized out-groups.
Then, when you have them metaphorically huddled together, drive them into a state of collective empowerment by talking about what we can do, together. How change always comes from the determined minority. What our imperative and duty now is.
Another way to jog them into applause is by a neat contraction of some sort that creates surprise and so bumps them up into the air.
There was once an honorable profession in the French playhouses, of the 'claqueur'. These were professional applauders. They would have various specialities, from thunderous applause to whoops and whistles. Having planted enthusiasts in the crowd still happens although few would admit to it, of course.