Pause for mental digestion (gulp)

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause — Samuel Clemens

Tip: Use pauses for attention, emphasis, and mental digestion. This is an important technique that can be useful in a variety of situations.

Allow me to explain…

Pause for attention
When you want to gain the attention of your audience, simply pause. Pause long enough and all eyes will be on you. Then once you have their attention, you should deliver an important point.

Pause for emphasis
If you combine the above pause with some words that indicate the next idea is important, you have created a “must listen” situation for your audience.

You might say, “This next idea is probably the most important idea that I am going to share with you today…. < P A U S E >….< then fill in your main point here>”.

The pause, especially combined with emphasis words will cause your audience to pay special attention and place more importance on those particular ideas. Of course, you can only use this one during a speech, so save this technique for the most important message.

Pause for mental digestion
When you want your audience to think over what you just said, or feel the impact of your words, a simple pause AFTER you have delivered your words will leave space for the mental digestion. It’s like the “rest” in music. Your are giving your audience a moment to think it through.

Mostly due to nerves, many folks rush through presentations and don’t pause enough. A well delivered pause will help your audience to understand and remember your idea and it also shows confidence–all very important parts of effective presentation.

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