Holding the Floor

What is the best way to guarantee nobody ever interrupts you during a debate?

According to Isabelle Oakeshott you should not talk slowly nor open up opportunities for intervention. Here is her comment from the The Spectator on Dianne Abbott after the recent kerfuffle over their appearances on BBC Question Time.

Isabelle Oakeshott, The Spectator, 26/1/2019

Talking slowly can sometimes signal gravitas and statesmanship but on a fast-moving, competitive talk show such as Question Time, it probably comes at a disadvantage if you want to hold the floor.

Opportunities for intervention within a monologue usually occur during pauses, or at the end of clauses. Smart speakers often pause in unusual places, and use hesitation and repetition to hold the floor. Body language can also be important in signalling whether you are ready to relinquish your turn.


Here are some examples from previous posts on how to hold the floor in various settings.

BBC Question Time, 17th January 2019


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