Tone Of Voice Exercise Part 1: 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:

Record yourself reciting the passage above without regard for the punctuation (the passage under the banner How Pausing Can Work Against You). Then, recite it again, taking the liberty to insert appropriate pauses, with the intent of keeping your hypothetical listeners fascinated. During playback, consider the differences in effect between the two readings, and then take some time to refine your use of Pausing utilizing the same passage. Play around a little, and record an additional reading or two, experimenting with your Pausing techniques until you feel your delivery has become more effective.