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Short Pauses

 

Techniques Public speaking > Speaking Tips > Short Pauses

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When speaking, use frequent, short pauses. Avoid long pauses.

Pause after important points to let these sink in. Gaze seriously at your audience during these pauses, eyeballing individuals.

Pause after asking rhetorical questions to let them think of their answer.

Also pause between phrases, deliberately illustrating commas, semicolons and periods. A simple trick is to count differently for each punctuation:

  • For commas, count one
  • For colons and semicolons, count to two
  • For periods, count to three
  • For the end of a paragraph, count to four

Pause to show you are thinking, considering a point. Do this especially when asked questions.

Example

This is something to remember:...when you are faced with an angry person, they are not thinking....They are feeling and reacting...They are not considering your feelings,.. because they are inside their own heads.....

Hello everyone...... Are you feeling well? ..... Health is an issue that many of us ignore,...that is..until we are afflicted ourselves.....

Discussion

Pausing is a natural process. Research has shown that, in normal speech, we pause about four or five times per minute. Adding pauses to your presentation will make you sound more natural and less like you are reciting a script.

Pauses give time for listeners to digest what has been said, filing it away in the memory for later recall. What is obvious to you may need more reflection by them.

When we read, we pause briefly at punctuations such as commas, periods and so on. This helps us understand what is meant by the text, breaking up phrases where each is a distinct package of meaning. In speech, punctuation is shown with pauses which give signals to your audience that helps them understand your meaning.

People who do not pause are seen to be confusing, disconnected or attempting dominance. In practice, they are often just anxious and want to get to the end as soon as possible. People who pause for too long are seen as uncertain and lacking fluency.

See also

Using Pauses

 

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