The Power of the... Pause

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The Power of the Pause
             --3 Pausing Techniques to add Impact to your Communication
How can I increase the impact of my message? How can I really add power to my delivery?

What (the content, words, data etc) you say is important. Equally, how or the way a message is put across to your audience (delivery) can genuinely provide you with a unique sense of authority or presence. Pauses can really add power to your message and provide you with a communication edge. 

Sure, pitch (tone), clarity (enunciation) and volume all have a part to play but one of the most overlooked techniques or tools that you can use is …..the pause.

Seems easy enough though… pausing. Or is it?
Why don’t we pause more?  Here are three reasons;

Pressure -Typically, when we stand up in front of an audience or are in a high-pressure situation, an amygdala hijack takes place, anxiety kicks in and we switch into fight or flight mode. The result is we end up speaking faster. A lot faster.

Habit - Conversational pauses can be broken down into short (0.15 secs), medium (0.5) and long (1.5 second) pauses. However, when we speak in public, an ideal pause may last 2-3 seconds. Much longer therefore than we are used to.

Silence is a weakness - Some believe that silence is actually a weakness. A sign that a speaker has forgotten their words. Pausing isn’t just a gap though. It should be thought of as a strategic technique or a tool. Below is a list of some of the different types of pauses and their benefits.

1. Reflective Pausing
Benefits: Allows time for the audience to decode/catch up with you and reflect what you have said. Will increase the impact of what you said before.

2. Dramatic Pausing
Benefits: Increases the impact of what you are about to say next.
Examples: And then…(pause)… One key way our products can help you is….. (pause)

3. Structural/Transitional Pausing
Benefits: Helps break up your content making it easier to follow. Used when you want to go from one point to the next.
Example: My next and final point is key (pause).

In summary, pausing sounds easy but in practice, there are a few impeding factors as to why we don’t use it more.

Try to record yourself in important communication exchanges to build awareness around this powerful technique. The 3 different pauses will help you become more purposeful and impactful when you communicate.

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