The power of the Pause in speaking and presenting
As you walk up to the lectern or microphone, Pause…Take the time to look at your audience, engage them, and smile.
Too many speakers rush to say something and forget the power of the Pause. Allowing too little time for you and the audience to engage each other, and settle in. The pause before you say a single word allows you to own the stage, and creates a presence that attracts attention and invites the audience to settle and listen.
Ever had a conversation with someone who obviously was not listening to you, someone self-absorbed, in a hurry? Too many speakers act like they are talking at the audience, in a hurry. This style makes the speaker come across as rude and 2-D, even worse it causes the audience to shut down and stop participating (in their heads).
It can help to think of a presentation as an interactive conversation between you and your audience, only you speak and they engage in their heads (and hearts). To do this they need time. The pause allows your listener time to digest your idea, message or question and mentally engage in the conversation.
The power of the Pause is in the moment the audience can reflect, allow the message to sink in.
Thinking about a presentation as a conversation with your audience enables you to engage them in your ideas, rather than lecture them. The Pause is part of that conversation. Whenever you ask your audience a question, or offer an insightful comment, Pause. Remember that if you speak too soon you’re disengaging them, Stepping on their thoughts, and it fast becomes a lecture rather than a conversation. The pause allows time for the audience to reflect and remain engaged. If we don’t allow them that time, they will shut down, and stop listening or being involved!
Pausing takes practice, you can’t instantly be comfortable with it. A long pause can be very uncomfortable for you as a speaker. We feel like we should be saying something… we all have an innate fear of the silence (specially those being paid to speak).
Challenge yourself to pause… long enough so your audience can reflect…. so you can have a conversation with them.
If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message when speaking and the power of the Pause then contact us today!
Latest posts by Richard Riche (see all)
- Harnessing the power of psychological safety at work - 2 January 2019
- 5 keys to creating sustainable continuous improvement - 19 November 2018
- Using organisational voice to support Change Communication - 28 September 2018