Pausing is one of the quickest and most powerful techniques you can implement to become a more confident speaker.
But before I go any further I want to share with you something about my public speaking training.
One of the first things I do with my clients is I put them on video and tell them to introduce themselves. There’s no coaching, no priming, or motivational speech beforehand. They speak purely from their base level of skill – what I refer to as their baseline.
Straight off the bat, there’s usually 2 big things that come up :
- They need to slow down
- They need to increase their energy
This is where pausing comes in.
Why Pausing Is So Important
Most people get up and just power through their content. They speed through it. And it’s counterproductive for 2 reasons:
1. The audience needs time to digest what’s being said
As an audience member, you have to listen carefully and digest what’s being said on stage.
It takes time for you to take in what’s being said, imagine different scenarios and think to yourself, “Do I agree? Do I not agree?“
One of the fundamental mistakes entrepreneurs make is they power through their talks.
They talk through it all too quickly.
Partially because of nerves. But mostly, it’s because they know so much about their topic that they want to share as much information as possible in a short period of time.
What they forget though, is this could be new information for their audience.
And as a result of speaking too quickly, it takes the audience much longer to comprehend what’s being shared.
2. The audience doesn’t like looking stupid
If you’re going too fast, your audience gets overwhelmed.
And their minds shut down.
One of the biggest risks for an audience is to look stupid. They don’t want to look stupid.
Imagine for a second that you’re sitting in a crowd listening to a speaker skimming over content-heavy topics. You miss a few things and you’re unable to connect the dots.
You want to raise your hand and say “I don’t understand”, but you feel intimidated by everyone else in the room who seems to be following on just fine. They’re nodding their heads saying, “Yeah, that sounds good,” while you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “I don’t get it…”
That’s what I’m talking about.
This is a big risk for you.
And the reason why it’s risky is because if your audience feels that what you’re sharing with them is too difficult to follow along, they’ll disqualify themselves as a potential client of yours way before you get the chance to pitch them, under the impression that whatever you can help them with is just too hard and won’t work for them.
They’ll end up telling you “Okay, let me think about it and I’ll get back with you.“
And they never get back to you.
This applies both to presentations, pitches and one-on-one sales conversations.
An overwhelmed mind does not make a decision.
The Power… Of Pausing.
A lot of my clients come to me with vulnerability as one of their biggest fears.
It’s the fear of being judged. And it gets in the way of them pausing in their presentations.
When you are quiet and you pause in front of an audience, you’re silent. And with a whole crowd of eyeballs staring at you, everything you fear comes up internally.
This is why we condition people to feel comfortable with people staring at them in silence in our Speak With Confidence training.
What my clients don’t realize until we train them, is pausing is actually a power move.
Because when most people start speaking on stage, their minds race with ideas from all directions. They try to push through it all, desperately trying to piece these ideas together, and end up fumbling over their words.
By pausing, you slow down and give yourself time to think.
You give yourself time to access the knowledge and wisdom that’s deep inside you – information that you’ve accumulated over time through experience in your field.
So instead of speaking from your head (where the mess is spiraling out of control), you’re speaking from your heart.
The truth is, you don’t need scripts and fancy memorization techniques.
That only makes things worse.
You just need… to slow down.
Because by doing so, you buy yourself time to think about what to say next. At the same time, you’re allowing your audience to digest the information you’ve just shared. To make sense of it. To let it sink in.
As a result, you’ll be present with them, you’ll engage them and you’ll connect with them at a deeper level.
Plus, you come across as WAY more confident, composed and competent.
Think about world-famous speakers you know – do they get up on stage, regurgitate their info as quickly as they can, then run off the stage as quickly as possible?
No. They don’t.
They speak with self-assurance and composure.
And a large part of that comes from pausing.
You can do it too.
You just need to pause.
It’s the easiest and most effective shortcut for you to achieve a similar stage presence to those speakers you know.
Just by integrating pauses, I guarantee you’ll come across as a more powerful, confident leader.
How To Integrate Pauses Into Your Presentations
Here’s a quick tip for how to start integrating pauses into your presentations.
It’s a trick I use in my head.
Every time you feel yourself getting uncomfortable on stage, pause.
If you’re new to this, chances are your head will start racing and screaming “Go! Go! Go! Keep going!”.
That’s just your hindbrain telling you the world is a scary place when it actually isn’t.
All you have to do is reply to that inner voice with “Okay. Just wait 2 more seconds.”
Then give yourself another 2 seconds before you start again.
By doing this, you ensure that you actually take your time. It also gives you space to sit in the silence you create through the pause, rather than rushing through and interrupting yourself.
Plus, here’s the awesome part.
You’ll also build suspense and anticipation with the audience because your audience doesn’t know what you’re going to say next.
You’re building intrigue. You’re building curiosity.
They’ll start leaning on the edge of their seats in their minds as they wonder, “What’s coming up next?”
The Result Of Becoming More Comfortable With Pausing
And as you start becoming more comfortable with pausing and being the center of attention, you’ll start seeing yourself having a lot more impact, engagement and fun presenting.
And the best part is, you’ll find yourself becoming a better communicator overall.
If you’ve found this article useful and you’re thinking of supercharging your speaking confidence with me, then I’d like to invite you to apply for my training workshop.
The best way to accelerate your growth is with feedback in a safe environment.
And in my Speak With Confidence training, we do exactly that.
We get people on camera. We break it down. We go, “Okay, what did you do well? What do we need to improve?” And we build you up very quickly in our training.
Pausing is just one of the many techniques that I teach.
So if you’d like to supercharge your speaking confidence with me, just fill out the application form here, and either my team or I will call you personally to see if we’re a fit.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Level Up Living