10 ways to make effective speech pauses
Speech pauses are the most yet the most underrated tool when it comes to public speaking. Pauses can elevate the narrative most straightforwardly. Pauses allow the audience to absorb everything they hear while allowing the speaker to retain their composure.
Ten ways in which you can effectively use speech pauses are -
Pause for emphasis
When you pause before, after, or while making a certain point, it helps you emphasize that point. But, again, this sends a message that the audience needs to focus on the point you are making.
While making a transition
Pauses are a significant transition marker. When you plan to switch to a different topic or another aspect of the same subject, a pause between the switch makes it easier for the audience to distinguish. In addition, this allows you to present your information in a more organized manner.
When asking rhetorical questions
Every time you ask the audience a rhetorical question, make sure a pause follows it. This pause encourages the audience to ponder over the question and answer it for themselves. Do not rush forward immediately after dropping the question. This would defeat the purpose of the question, i.e., to stir the audience's mind.
To avoid filler words.
At the instances when you feel like using a filler word like 'so,' 'and,' 'umm,' or others, replace them with a pause. Pausing when you would have used hesitation words would prevent your presentation from looking bland and repetitive.
While in the thinking phase
There'll be times when you will face sudden unexpected questions from the audience. To answer that question, you'll have to listen to it, understand it, and then respond to it. The part where you comprehend the question is where the pause comes into play. Do not be impatient while answering. It is okay to pause and give it a thought.
Pause for the applause
Applause is one of the few things that drives you to do better, right? So make sure you don't lose that. Whenever you make a point that makes the audience applaud you, allow them to finish. If you continue speaking immediately, it will diminish the impact of your point. This would also cut down the audience's excitement to express appreciation.
When you make a joke
As an excellent public speaker, you have to make sure that your presentation is informative and entertaining. So while you plan to drop a joke amongst heaps of information, use pauses to make your audience identify them. The pause will indicate the shift in mood and will make the joke land the way it should.
To let the audience participate.
If you keep talking about yourself, it would be difficult to keep the audience interested throughout the presentation. To keep the audience glued, you must allow them to speak as well. This can be achieved by inserting a pause after the points that can initiate conversation. The audience will use this pause to present their perspective on a particular topic.
To make non-verbal communication.
Apart from the various verbal tools, many non-verbal tools can help you strengthen your presentation. For example, while initiating a discussion, use a pause to establish eye contact with the audience. This will make them pay attention to what you are saying. Make sure you slowly establish a connection with every person in the room using this technique.
To keep a check on the pace.
Sometimes, unintentionally, you might be too fast paces for the audience to catch up with you. If you realize that anytime during your presentation, adjust your pace. Plant your pauses so that the audience can keep up with you.