Right now, why not take a moment to vividly imagine achieving these 3 outcomes whenever you present?
- Feeling relaxed.
- Influencing people more.
- Delighting your audience.
Those 3 are the Holy Grail of public speaking! No doubt you’d be glad to achieve any 1 of them, so to get all 3 would be bliss.
Well according to Keith Bailey of Decker Communications, you can achieve all 3 of those outcomes simply by pausing effectively.
In fact, in a quote of just 15 words, Keith encapsulates not only those 3 outcomes but also how simply (though not easily) you can achieve them:
“When you pause, you will be less stressed and
more influential. Your audience loves pauses.”
That’s the goal alright, but it’s often foiled of course by stress, which comes on for at least 3 reasons:
- You’re mostly the one talking, which singles you out as the leader.
- Your audience is all facing you, and judging you and your words!
- It’s often hard to tell whether they like what you’re saying.
No wonder you likely feel 2 related sensations:
- acute focus on yourself.
That’s why – if you’re like most speakers (me included) – currently you don’t pause often enough or long enough. And even if you try pauses, it’s likely they’re too short, because nervousness distorts your sense of time. (With all eyes fixed on you, pauses seem much longer to you than they really are.)
- Decide how often and how long to pause
Keith Bailey suggests a great way to insert frequent, effective pauses in your talks.
- Do at least one “dress rehearsal”
- Speak out loud.
- To mimic eye contact, look around the room (fixing your gaze for several seconds at a time).
- Move around and gesture as if for real.
- Practise pausing in sync with your eye contact and with moving, as well as at other times.
- If possible, also use the same equipment and venue as you will on the day.
- Video your rehearsals (and your talks if you can)
There’s no better feedback than seeing exactly how long your pauses truly are.
- Get feedback from good speakers
- Choose people you admire and trust.
- Let them know in advance what you’d like feedback on.
- Ask specifically about how you can improve your pauses.
Lastly, you might also want to try these 6 tips to boost your confidence.
Over to you
- What other tips or benefits to do with pausing can you share?
- I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below.
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