You might have heard public-speaking experts recommend pausing when you’re presenting. But how often – and for how long – should you pause during your talk?
The answers to those questions can sometimes seem surprisingly involved. So I was delighted to find (over on the Decker Communications blog) that Keith Bailey recently published a great post answering those exact questions in a very simple, memorable, and practical way.
He suggests you pause according to how your words would appear if written, so:
|Whenever there’s a…||Pause for…|
|New sentence||2 seconds|
|New paragraph||3 seconds|
Here’s how Keith likens punctuation in text to pausing when speaking:
“Punctuation is to readers as pausing is to your listeners.”
He even shared a passage of over 100 words without any punctuation, to vividly show the written equivalent of speaking without pauses!
Keith’s 1-2-3 tip is a huge help
on both counts
Pausing’s a masterful speaking technique that gives your audience time to really “get” what you’re saying. Sadly though, nerves (and lack of true empathy for the audience) cause most speakers not to pause either often enough or long enough. So Keith’s 1-2-3 tip is a huge help on both counts.
Although this tip’s simple, I’m not saying it’s easy
Mind you, although this tip’s simple, I’m not saying it’s easy. By that I mean pausing seems straightforward, but it doesn’t tend to come naturally, so you’ll likely need to practise lots for it to become 2nd nature.
As you might’ve read before, videoing yourself practising your talk really helps. And in this case, it’ll let you see just how frequent and how long your pauses really are – right down to the nearest second (shown on the video’s timeline).
Let your audience “get” what you’re saying
So to slow your pace (which lets your audience “get” what you’re saying), try Keith Bailey’s simple “1-2-3” tip for pausing.
Over to you
- What’s been your experience (either pausing yourself, or hearing effective speakers pause)?
- I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below.
Check out these related posts
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