Captivating an Audience

Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgical Perspective can be found everyday in a variety of activities, whether it’s a conversation with one person or communicating with a group.  A time I’ve experienced “giving a performance” to an audience was a group interview for the FrOG hiring process. Sitting among a group of about 20 people, we were asked questions about various things such as leadership skills, opinions how to handle unexpected situations, and any other things about our skills. There was a group of observers in the back of the room taking notes on all of our answers, a facilitator asking the questions, and the other students also taking part in the interview. The other students were observing my performance and I was aware of how I might be perceived by them, but I felt that the note takers and the facilitator were my intended audience when giving my answers. I wanted to give off good verbal impressions with the things I had to say, along with wanting to sound confident and enthusiastic so that my signs given off matched with what I was saying, in order to strengthen my performance. When other students would share, the roles would reverse and then I was the audience, paying attention to them to make note of what they said and to think of something relatable to the topic of conversation. The notetakers stuck with the role of the audience the whole time, taking notes and observing everyone else. They didn’t give off any performance as they weren’t allowed to express their opinion when listening to answers. The facilitator was a performer who had their own stage when explaining the activities, and their own backstage when preparing the material and how to present it to us. Overall, organized group settings definitely have a strong presence of Goffman’s perspective.