The Power of the Pause
When making a presentation your ability to pause is as important as the spoken component.
There are loads of benefits to pausing, and I think they are all extremely valuable:
At the end I’ll let you know the perfect length for pausing.
1. Pausing gives the audience a chance to digest what you’ve just said. Too many ideas belted out in a row, and you’ve lost ’em. Give each new idea a chance to sink in!
2. Pausing emphasises a point. I think it’s more powerful than raising your voice.
3. Pausing gives you a chance to take stock and gauge the audience. Especially for those who are nodding off! You can reassess where you are in the presentation, or engage with the audience if they seem a little switched-off.
4. Pausing gives the audience a chance to ask questions. You don’t want to seem like a fast-talking car salesman do you?
5. Pausing separates ideas.
6. Pausing replaces habitual conversation fillers. (ummm, aaahh, basically, you know, innitt)
7. Pausing gives you a chance to collect your thoughts. Or take a breather, check the time, have a sip of water or flash your lovely teeth.
8. Pausing helps you gain control of a rowdy audience. Exactly like schoolteachers used to do.
9. Pausing makes it seem like you’ve got an inner peace thing going on. A bit like Ghandi. People love it and think you’re in control, which you are. Inexperienced people rush, experienced people ponder for a little longer.
Finally, before you scurry off, you might be wondering about the right natural length of pause.
The answer? Shoot for four seconds. It will seem like an eternity, but the audience don’t think so.
The bottom line is: if you only ever master one delivery skill, let it be pausing!
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