Fostering User Engagement: Rhetorical Devices for Applause Generation Learnt from TED Talks

Zhe Liu, Anbang Xu, Mengdi Zhang, Jalal Mahmud, Vibha Sinha

One problem that every presenter faces when delivering a public discourse is how to hold the listeners' attentions or to keep them involved. Therefore, many studies in conversation analysis work on this issue and suggest qualitatively con-structions that can effectively lead to audience's applause. To investigate these proposals quantitatively, in this study we an-alyze the transcripts of 2,135 TED Talks, with a particular fo-cus on the rhetorical devices that are used by the presenters for applause elicitation. Through conducting regression anal-ysis, we identify and interpret 24 rhetorical devices as triggers of audience applauding. We further build models that can rec-ognize applause-evoking sentences and conclude this work with potential implications.

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