Sunday, 29 November 2015


PAUSES and its importance

Remember the famous example, which taught that Punctuation can save life (literally).

“Let’s eat, Grandma” versus “Let’s eat Grandma.” Punctuation saves the lives of the elderly!”

In the world of public speaking pauses are your punctuation. When we speak out loud, we can’t rely on punctuation to help our audience follow along. Instead, create emphasis or convey emotion and humor by using the pause as spoken punctuation.

Pausing adds power, drama, to your speech. Used well your silences will literally speak LOUDER than your words. Learning when to pause and how long for is a skill and like all skills improves with practice.

Effective use of speech pauses is a master technique. If you do it right, nobody is conscious of your pauses, but your ideas are communicated more persuasively. If you do it wrong, your credibility is weakened, and your audience struggles to comprehend your message.

Effective Speaking Pauses – tips and techniques

Pausing is one of the most overlooked parts of the public speaking techniques. There are many benefits of using pauses effectively.

Helps Audience understanding:      Pauses allow you to punctuate your spoken words, giving your listeners clues as to when one phrase, one sentence, or one paragraph ends, and the next begins.

Conveying Emotion:                         Pauses help to convey emotion, the he placement and duration of pauses should differ depending on whether you are conveying sadness, anger, gladness, or some other emotion.

Emphasize a word or phase:           When we write an email or post a message on social media, we use cues such as bold, italics, and all caps to emphasize important words and phrases. In verbal communication, the pause if used effectively can do this work for us. To gain the attention of your audience, pause before you say something important.

“If you want to do only one thing today, I’d like for you to do this. <PAUSE>…” Then say the point is. The pause builds the suspense in the audience. Remember to keep Eye contact with the audience, it will augment the suspense.

Pace of delivery:                                When you set the right pace in your speech your audience has a good chance to keep up, actively listen and understand you. The chance to really understand. When you speak more quickly you increase the likelihood of your audience missing something or not understanding something. You know the signs: a scratch of heads, furrowed brows and an exchange of glances. It’s down to pace. Use effective pauses in your speech to slow down the pace and increase your audience’s understanding.

Help in breathing:                             When your breathing is out of control your speech pattern also goes out of control. Sentences become muddled. Build in long pauses once a while which helps to take breaths, gather your thoughts.  Make sure to strike the right balance and your speech pauses should be as eloquent as your words.

Pauses replace filler words:             Excessive use of filler words (um, er, ah) undermines your credibility, and signals lack of knowledge, lack of preparation, or lack of authenticity. Using pauses is one of the best ways to do so, while still providing time for you to think of your next words. It also engages the audience.

Pauses for visual:                              When speaking with slide visuals, it’s generally good to pause when switching to a new slide to give your audience a moment to study the visual in silence. When you continue to speak, you signal that the focus should be back to you.

Pauses for enhancing Drama:          A dramatic pause is used whenever you want to generate some drama or suspense.  A dramatic pause could be used before continuing your spoken speech, or it could be used just before displaying a slide, or a prop.

Any other

Can you recall the speech impact of effective pauses, either by yourself or some other speaker? Please add a comment

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