The power of the pause

This vlog is about using the power of the pause to bring your talks to life.

Introducing the power of the pause

Here’s the summary if you don’t have the opportunity to watch the video.

What we’re going to say…or not say

When we stand up to give a talk or a presentation, we often think of it in terms of the words that we’re going to use, the phrases that we’re going to string together, the sentences that we create, the stories that we magically conjure up.

In other words, it’s all about what we’re going to say.

But here’s something to consider.

Often it’s the silences in between those words, phrases, sentences, and stories that bring your talk to life.

I want us just to focus on the power of the pause and the immense magic that comes from silence in a presentation.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it?

Four ways you can use the power of the pause

But there are four ways that those silences, that those pauses can really add something quite special to your talks.

And they all begin with the letter P.

Let’s have a look at the power of the pause.


The first thing that the pauses can do is to help you with your Pace. I get a lot of people who come to me and what they say is that they know that they speak too fast. When they are nervous, when the adrenaline is pumping around their body, they just get faster.

That in and of itself isn’t always a problem. In other words, people can speak quite fast and they can still be clear, they can still articulate well.

But the problem with a very fast pace that never changes and that keeps on going from beginning to end is that it is exhausting for the audience to listen to, and it’s really hard for them to gain any sort of meaning or time to process what it is that the speaker’s saying.

Introducing pauses, either in between the sections, of your talk or at the end of a story or at the transition from one particular point into another point, they are all ways of introducing a more varied pace into your talk and allowing the audience to enjoy, to absorb, and to follow what you’re saying.


The second power of the pause is that it adds Power to what you’re saying. When we pause, it gives you talk emphasis. It tells the audience through their ears that something is important. Or significant or that they should pay attention to the word or the phrase that they are talking about.

It’s a bit like when you’re reading the book and you notice that something is bold type or is underlined or maybe it’s in italics. The pause is the verbal, or non-verbal equivalent of that emphasis.

And let’s face it, if your talk has no emphasis at all, and you’re probably talking on a monotone. Nothing stands out and speaks to the audience. In fact, if anything, it will probably switch them off.

So knowing what words, phrases, sentences, or stories you want to emphasize in your talk is absolutely key. And the pauses will help you do that either by pausing just before or just after what you’ve said so that people get it, that what you’ve said is important.


The third key, the power of the pause, is that it gives your talk Purpose. And what do I mean by that? It adds a layer of meaning to what you’re saying, so it’s not just words and phrases. That you’re downloading to your audience. It’s got meaning. It is meaningful. And the pause gives it that meaning.

If you’ve said something and then you pause afterwards, the audience then have to stop and really think about what it is that you’ve said. And sometimes when you just lengthen that pause a teeny tiny bit, they get to not just understand here, but they get to feel here what you’ve said.

And that’s really important when you tell them stories. If you’ve told us particular part of your story, and you want your audience to feel it, then stop talking and give them time to take onboard that feeling to process what you’ve said.

I’m a really big believer, that when we stand up and speak in public it’s got to have meaning and it’s got to be meaningful for them as well. And, yes, that means choosing the right words and phrases but even more importantly, it’s using the pauses at the right time so that people feel the meaning as well.


And last but not least, the power of the pause adds value to your talk because you can Prime your listener.

It’s linked to the meaning. But in other words, we can guide the audience and build up their levels of anticipation for what we’re saying by simply stop talking and when we’ve got their attention, then delivering whatever it is that we’re delivering.

So there are two types of pauses in this case.

One is the are you ready for this pause?

So you would do that pause just before you say something that you want them to pay attention to, or that is that important or that you’d like them to remember?

And then the second of those pauses will be the pauses afterwards.

Which is the ‘Did you get that’ pause. So that time to process.

The power of the pause

So the power of pause,

  • it helps you with Pace,
  • it helps you with Power,
  • it helps you with the Purpose,
  • and it helps you to Prime your audience.

Have a go and let me know how you get on and any questions, of course, please get in touch with me and I’d be happy to answer them.