There’s power in a moment of silence. Find out how you can apply this in your talk! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
“I uhm would like to welcome the uhm attendees here in our uhm event.”
When that’s the first thing you hear from a speaker, do you suddenly feel uninterested to listen to him or her or think he or she is not prepared and confident?
If your answer is “yes,” don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Some listeners also feel and think the same whenever they listen to a speaker who delivers his or her speech that way―with fillers like “uh” and “uhm” and other unnecessary pauses.
Let’s now talk about YOU as a speaker.
If you want to deliver an impactful message to your audience, this is one of the important public speaking principles that you should keep in mind:
According to Dale Carnegie in the book, “The Art of Public Speaking,”
“No one who would be a forceful speaker can afford to neglect this principle―one of the most significant that has ever been inferred from listening to great orators.”
Carnegie was right. As a speaker, you should know the importance of pauses and how these momentary stops can influence your audience.
… but Carnegie wasn’t the only one who talked about the power of pauses.
In a previous “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants” article, we featured one of the topics discussed in James C. Humes’ book, “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln”―the Power Pause.
If these authors dedicated a chapter of their books to tackle this important point, then proper pauses are definitely essential to an effective speech or presentation!
Here are some of the advantages of using pauses appropriately in your talk:
- It serves as a POWER button in your speech or presentation.
A pause helps you gather the power and impact you need before delivering an important message.
This method works because taking a momentary stop makes your audience anticipate what you’re going to say next.
On the contrary, when you continuously talk about your topic without pausing in between, chances are listeners would get overwhelmed, and even tired, just by listening to you.
In that case, your speech or presentation will lose impact and your audience won’t grasp the message you’re trying to convey.
Such a waste of time, effort, energy, and resources when that happens!
To prevent that scenario, take a pause. It wouldn’t hurt your reputation as a speaker to do that!
In fact, taking advantage of proper pauses will help you pack enough punch for the message you will speak and compel your audience to pay attention to you.
- It PREPARES your audience for your next statement.
Pauses during your talk conditions your listeners to prepare to receive your message.
In public speaking, impact comes after an appropriate long pause. Some speakers take advantage of this moment of silence to make a great impact on their audience’s minds.
Imagine talking non-stop in front of your listeners.
More likely than not, by the time you end your speech or presentation, your audience no longer cares because they’ve lost interest in listening to your seemingly endless babble.
If you give your listeners a break from every thought you mention, you’re also giving them enough breathing space to prepare for another powerful idea.
That way, there’s a high chance that your message will stick to your audience’s minds because there’s no “information overload.”
- It creates SUSPENSE in your talk.
Suspense plays a vital role in sparking people’s interests.
As a speaker, pauses can help you with that!
Create the good kind of suspense by pausing to sustain your listeners’ attention―the longer the pause, the higher the suspense rate you give to the audience.
When American lawyer Clarence Darrow made his closing argument during the trial of Henry Sweet in 1925, he took advantage of momentary stops in his statement to make everyone in the courtroom anticipate the message.
Here’s what Darrow said:
“I do not believe *pause* in the law of hate. *pause* I may not be true *pause* to my ideals always, *pause* but I believe in the law of love.”
See? By injecting pauses in a single statement, Darrow made his message more impactful and easier to remember for everyone who was in that trial!
Creating suspense is an effective way to hook your listeners’ attention.
One way to do that?
- It enables your message to PENETRATE your audience’s minds.
If you’re giving your listeners a lot of information about your topic, make sure you give them at least a moment of silence to rest and absorb your message.
Be conscious about how your audience reacts as you deliver your speech or presentation.
If you see the majority of your listeners getting bored or confused, then that’s a sign that you have to change your pace so they can catch up.
Just because you’re the speaker, that doesn’t mean your audience will have to adjust for you all the time. It doesn’t work that way.
You also have to adjust your way of delivery and meet your listeners halfway so you’ll both arrive at the end of your talk meaningfully and harmoniously.
Otherwise, forcing your listeners to take in all the information at once will make them feel overwhelmed and confused. When that happens, your audience will lose interest in listening to your speech or presentation.
In public speaking, silence is one of the most persuasive and powerful tools.
As a speaker, you will be able to capture and sustain the attention and curiosity of your audience with the help of the right pauses at the right time.
With this, you’ll highlight your most important points and your listeners will be compelled to anticipate your next statement.
Take advantage of using pauses in your talk!
Remember: With the correct pauses in your speech or presentation, you can powerfully deliver your message, prepare your audience for your next point, create a good kind of suspense, and enable your message to penetrate your listeners’ minds.
Apply the principle of pausing in your next public speaking engagement!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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