The Power of Pausing


The deliberate silent spaces in your speech, or pauses, despite having lack of content, are among the most powerful components of speech. Pausing at the right moments and for the right lengths of time can underscore the major points in your content, and serve to give listeners time to absorb complex ideas.

How Pausing Can Work In Your Favor:

When used masterfully, Pausing can demonstrate heightened EQ, and earn you respect beyond the context of your speech. It can keep your audience engaged, and free of the temptation to jump in with a rebuttal before you’re finished.

How Pausing Can Work Against You:

Sloppy use, or overuse, of Pausing can imply that you’re still deliberating in your mind, sending a signal to your audience that you may not have a solid command of your subject. Additionally, lack of Pause, or what I like to call “speaking without punctuation”, can come across as robotic, or worse, can signal that you’re paranoid of interjection by others.

Your Mission:

One spokesperson at your table should volunteer to recite the passage above to the group without regard for the punctuation (the passage under the banner How Pausing Can Work Against You). Everyone should listen to the recitation instead of reading along. Then, the reader should recite it again, taking the liberty to insert appropriate pauses, with the intent of keeping the listeners fascinated. Then, take some feedback from the group to perfect the pausing, and prepare to discuss the findings with the room, after which a different group member will read the perfected version of the passage to the entire room.