Dramatic Pause In Public Speaking
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Learn how to harness the power of pause as a way to control your pace and intonation. I teach you how to avoid using filler words and avoid cluttering your speech with unimportant words. This lesson gives you 4 strategies on how to deliver a speech effectively so you can give an amazing presentation!

There are a variety of techniques we use in Public Speaking to convey our message to the audience. But we don’t just want to get our point across. We want our message to resonate with the audience. After all, the purpose of public speaking is in some way, shape or form to: (1) share an idea and (2) teach the audience something (3) or persuade them. 

How do we accomplish these three things? 

Well one way is through PAUSE. 

Why should you use pause in your speech? Here are four reasons:

(1) Emphasis

Point + [pause]

If you pause after a point, the speaker guides the audience to digest the point that’s just been made. The person giving the speech is calling their attention to that thing and making sure that the audience heard it. Remember, it is quite difficult to catch every phrase that the speaker says if they are talking too quickly and not leaving any spaces between points (i.e., pause). It’s extremely important to ensure the efficacy of your message and it’s transmission to the audience that you include pause. 

(2) Listen Up, Folks

[pause] + Point

When the speaker pauses before sharing the point, they are signaling to the audience that they should listen up. It’s a way of saying “Now, pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you” without uttering those words. If that’s not testament to the power of the pause then I don’t know what is, Explearners. If the speaker wants to set-up the audience for maximum understanding – in other words to make sure they follow – they might allude to the importance of the point after the pause. Signaling to the audience “Now let me tell you this [pause]…” or “So what’s all the hype about anyway? [pause]…” The audience understands they should keep their ears wide and eyes peeled. Doing a [pause] + Point alone is enough to re-engage the audience if they seem to be drifting or to guide them to listen for certain key points. 

(3) Avoiding fillers

Another amazing aspect of pause is that you use silence in the place of a filler word. This makes the speech more powerful because you’re not diluting the message or polluting the talk by adding random, inconsequential words on a whim. The next time you catch a filler on the tip of your tongue, pause instead. You’ll see how captivating it can be to your interlocutors and audience members.  

(4) Processing time

Public Speaking can be a powerful means of knowledge transfer if done properly. However, if you are not an auditory learner, meaning you have trouble learning just by listening (as opposed to kinesthetic learners who learn by doing, for example) then you might get lost in the speech.  Thus, as a speaker, it’s imperative that you give your audience processing time. Use pause to allow the audience to process the information you’ve given. Let them ruminate ponder the statistics you’ve shown. Let them unpack the expression you’ve shared. Let them digest the anecdote you’ve told. They can only process such information if you grant them the benefit of pausing. 

Try it out the next time you hold a meeting, chat with your friends over coffee, or give a talk to a large audience. Your audience will thank you for it, I’m sure! Use of pause in speech will not only benefit your audience, but you as well. It’s a powerful tool when you are on the giving and receiving end of a message. On the giving end, you can be more thoughtful and mindful of your content and delivery because you are not pressured to bust through your talk. On the receiving end you’ll more easily be able to process, digest, and internalize the key message and takeaways. You may even be able to sneak a type-up page of notes or two during those coveted moments of pause.

Happy Explearning 🐝

About the Author and the Explearning Academy:

Mary Daphne is an expert in communication, executive interpersonal skills, and personal development. She is the founder of the Explearning Academy, a platform dedicated to helping individuals enhance their social fluency, boost their careers, and elevate their social game. Through immersive group coaching programs like the Executive Communication Lab and self-guided journeys, participants gain the social superpowers and career catapults they've been searching for. If you're ready to take your negotiation skills to the next level and connect with like-minded individuals, visit academy.explearning.co and explore the various plans available. Join the Explearning Academy community and unlock your full potential.

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