For many a nervous presenter, the pause is something that is never attempted, allowed for, or even thought about in public speaking. Yet the best public speakers will agree that allowing yourself to pause is indeed one of the blessings of speaking to an audience. Without that slight break, you leave your audience bombarded with continual verbiage.
Do you pause when talking to friends, family, or colleagues? More than likely, you do. It is normal; it natural; and, for the purposes of respiration, it is required. Why, if you allow yourself to pause in normal conversation, do you not allow yourself the same break at the lectern?
The 4 most important reasons for pausing are as follows:
1. It allows you to breathe and supplement your air supply. The problem for many speakers is that they think they are not allowed to breathe until they come to the end of the sentence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because of speaker’s license, you can pause pretty much anywhere you want if you speak with any life or emotion. It works because it is natural – it is normal.
2. It allows you to momentarily get a break. Nonstop talk is tiring both for you the speaker and for your listeners as well. By allowing yourself to pause, just as you would in normal conversation, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable addressing an audience. You will have more energy and you will be much more interesting to listen to.
3. It allows your audience to momentarily get a break – be it ever so brief – to organize and classify what they are hearing.
4. It is effective and is part of expressive speaking.
Some people do not want to pause because they are afraid they might lose control of the conversation. In normal conversation, that is certainly possible; however, at the lectern, the chances that you are going to be interrupted are practically non-existent. This does not mean that your pauses should be lengthy. A mere second will do the trick. 5 seconds, on the other hand, will have your audience questioning what you are doing.
It is also important to note that you should not get into a particular rhythm when you pause. Saying 5 or 6 words and then pausing, followed by another 5 or 6 words and then pausing, becomes sing-song. The pause is not meant to be handled in such a rhythmic manner. It is truly a breather, a marvelous moment of silence to clear the brain. If treated properly, it can be most effective.
Allow yourself to pause. You will feel better and so too will your audience.
Article by The Voice Lady