What makes a great speaker? In order to project confidence and professionalism, how you say something is often more important than what you actually say. One of the most effective ways to make your speech more dynamic and memorable is harnessing the power of the pause. Speaking too quickly is a common problem for many professionals.
Everyone is in such a rush these days, and this often spills over into speech habits, with people getting their message out as quickly as possible, and running their words into one another. Unfortunately, this has two negative effects. First, it makes your speech much more difficult to understand. Second, it causes the speaker to lose the vocal variety that makes speech powerful, dynamic, and interesting.
Take a look below at two ways inserting a well-timed pause can take your communication to the next level:
1) Pause for clarity: Speaking too quickly can make your speech difficult to understand and increases the likelihood of your listener missing key information. This is particularly problematic when either you or your listener is a non-native speaker of English. In order to make sure your message is fully understood, pause when providing important information. For example, pause between your first and last name and between each of the words in your company name when introducing yourself. Also, insert a couple of pauses when giving your telephone number; non only does this make it easy to understand, but it naturally “chunks” the information, making it easier to remember.
2) Pause for emphasis: Pausing is also an excellent way to highlight an important point and make sure your listener is fully absorbing your message. Bookend a critical piece of information with a one-second pause before and after. Pausing immediately before prepares your listener and allows them to focus. Pausing immediately after allows your listener to absorb your message, and makes it more likely they’ll remember the information later on.
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