All the popular public speakers use silence as a tool in their speeches. When you start using pauses and silence while delivering a speech, it will keep the audience engaged. Pauses at the right places and in adequate amounts while delivering a speech can leave a long-lasting impact on the audience’s mind.
As a communicator, two of the most important things you should understand are what you are saying and how you deliver the content. Alongside these two, you should use the most potent tool, pause when you give a keynote speech and in case of a presentation in the corporate world. If you need to learn how to deliver an impactful speech, you should learn how to create a name for yourself as a public speaker or a good presenter. You can take help from an online English communication course to improve your communication skills.
Let’s keep the practical aspects of pausing in public speeches aside for a moment. First, we need to understand the relationship between sound and silence. Taking dramatic pauses before saying something impactful will make your audience’s anticipation go through the roof. The sheer power that pauses possess is unmatched by any other tool in communication. Silence can make your speech inspiring. We all are familiar with the idiom ‘The calm before the storm’; well, pauses in a speech are precisely that. When you go silent momentarily amidst the address, it makes the audience believe something interesting is about to happen.
By throwing it in the same demeanour, you should not let the most impactful part of your point go in vain. Besides that, you should also stop making noises like ‘uh,’ and ‘um’ between the lines. Instead of using such expressions, take a silent break to create more anticipation and drama. Let’s talk about the immense power that pauses can generate.
Studies say that an average person can speak roughly 150 words per minute. In the meantime, a person thinks four times more than they say. When you try to gather all these thoughts in one place, what happens is that you start to speak faster. In the process, your sentences become unnecessarily large and poorly constructed. Thus the audience needs help understanding. All the listeners will start losing track, leading to them needing to be more accurate and understand the message you are trying to deliver.
Now as you know the power of pauses and, most importantly, the impact of silence, it is time to talk about how breaks work.
There are also multiple variations of pauses. Short pauses usually last for .15 seconds; mediums will not last more than 0.5 seconds, whereas you can take a long pause for a maximum of 1.5 seconds. While reading a text, you should only use short and medium delays. You can use medium and even long pauses if you deliver a speech, whether it is impromptu or spontaneous. You can learn how to use pauses in your favour while delivering a speech in detail by enrolling in a personality development course online.
Now the question comes down to this: ‘where in the sentence can you use pauses?’ The best way to understand where to pause while reading a text is to follow the punctuation marks such as commas and full stops. Wherever you see a punctuation mark, you pause depending on the punctuation mark in the text. For a comma, take a short pause, and in case you encounter a period, or full stop, take a medium pause. Noticing punctuation marks is the safest way to take pauses.
Moreover, these punctuation marks will help you in constructing sentences. By using these well-constructed sentences, you can format the entire speech. While speaking, we don’t read the punctuation marks out loud. Taking pauses will add an equal amount of value to that of the punctuation marks.
You can also use this tool to emphasise an essential point in your speech. Pausing after saying something impactful will present the time for the audience to process the information and sink in.
While communicating with someone else or with a group, you can use pauses to establish a connection with one or more people. A business English course can be a great help in forming a better understanding of pauses.
There is a misconception that the pauses we take are only for the audience. Pauses are essential for both the speaker and the spectators. Whenever there is a pause, the speaker can recollect their thoughts, and they can also make sure that they are not showing any hurry while presenting. So, remember to take pauses, as your speech will become monotonous without pauses, which is not what you desire.
How many times have you noticed on television whenever something dramatic is about to take place, the announcer pauses before delivering the speech almost all the time? You will hear these dramatic pauses before the news anchor has intriguing news or from the game announcer before announcing the final results. Adding such pauses while presenting something will keep the audience attentive throughout the speech.
Last but not least, as we have already mentioned earlier in the article, pausing and making yourself silent for a certain period will help you eliminate the filers. To get a reaction from the audience, whether it is laughter or a cry, you need to allow them to react. And a powerful tool like pausing can help you to do that.
Irrespective of the situation, you need to speak less if you want to get heard by the people. Speaking less does not mean not conveying necessary information to the audience. It means communicating more while saying less by formulating the entire speech with pauses and silences at appropriate places. You need to pick your comments carefully. Besides that, you should also take the call on pauses in your speech. When you pause in the middle of the address, it will display your confidence. Alongside that, these pauses, whether short, medium, or long, will command the attention of the spectators. So, whenever you deliver a speech next time, consider pausing and using the tool to your advantage. If you require training to give speeches, you can join online English conversation classes at Affluent English. We will guide you so that you manage to gather the confidence to speak in a business meeting or in front of an audience.