An Essential Secret of Great Speakers: Pauses in Talking


Seven Steps to Better Presentations

Jeffrey Veen of Adaptive Path, and now, Google, lists seven steps for better presentations here. Here is a summary.

  1. Tell stories
  2. Show picture and use good metaphors
  3. Don’t apologize for something out of order or for a mistake.
  4. Start strong
  5. End strong too
  6. Stand away from the podium and out from behind the presenter table
  7. Pause while speaking

Pausing While Speaking

Pause While Speaking Often, speakers and presenters talk quickly—sometimes to an extent that the audience cannot clearly understand the speakers’ words. Perhaps these speakers are nervous. Or, they may be excited about their speeches and hence, are in a rush to express their ideas.

An effective speaker uses lots of pauses in speeches. By pausing after important segments along a speech, a speaker can gather his/her thoughts. And, the audience gets a chance to absorb the contents of the speech.

On the other hand, some speakers tend to be slow, especially if they are contemplative. These speakers quickly lose the attention of the audience.

How to Improve Pausing in Speaking

  1. How to Improve Pausing in Speaking While listening to radio or watching television, observe the speeches of newsreaders, stand-up comedians, broadcasters or background-narrators. Observe how they pause along their talking.
  2. Choose a few newspaper- or magazine-articles and read them out aloud as you would in a speech. At each punctuation mark—a comma, period, semicolon, etc., —pause before you proceed to the next phrase or sentence. Record your speech on a tape-recorder or on your computer (use Audacity software, a freeware) and review.
  3. As you prepare for an important presentation or speech, write down the entire text of your speech with plenty of punctuations. Practice your speech, record and review.

Concluding Thoughts

Audiences typically remember a very small portion of what they hear in speeches and presentations. By using plenty of pauses and pacing yourself, you can improve your ability to articulate and help your audience appreciate your thoughts.

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