Presentation Tip #5: Powerful Pauses

Executive Studio Presentation Tip #5:

The Power of the Pause

Jack BennyHere’s a T-Shirt we saw recently at the airport……

“I. Can. Make. The. Little. Voice. In. Your. Head. Take. Pauses.”

We bought the T-shirt!
Why? It so perfectly sums up the essence of the
“Power of the Pause.”
Okay…. try reading it again.
Didn’t you take those pauses when you were reading it?
C’mon. Admit it. You did.

superman stops a trainOne. Little. Dot.
The Power of the Pause is more powerful than Superman stopping a locomotive.
We strategically call it the “Wait for It” moment.

But what does that little “dot” actually do or say?
The answer is:
“Stop! Take a breath. Process what you just read. Think before you move on.”
We think it’s a necessity in a super-charged, Autobahn-paced world that often dictates that you “race” through what you read, or more critically, what you say.

The “Wait for It” moment gives you power and influence. Whoever you are. Whenever you speak. When you use it, you are asking your audience to perk up, pay attention, engage intellectually with you and “wait for” what you are going to tell them next.

When you’re speaking, the verbal equivalent of that little dot is the Pause. You are reinforcing the idea of….Whoa! Pay Attention. Don’t miss what I have to say next. Because it might be the most important thing I’m about to tell you.

To give it more context, the “Wait for It” moment is like a freeze frame in time. Everyone listening to you is in a moment of suspension. And you “own” the audience in that very moment.

Now it’s your turn! Grab any text or copy that you enjoy or have to deliver in an upcoming presentation. Mark it up with lots of “dots” that signal you to pause. And read aloud. Or read to someone else. Make sure you insert that “Wait for It” moment anytime you’re about to mention:
Shirley Temple at mic1. A list
2. An important fact
3. A new idea
4. A date or time
5. A new business result

Map it out. Take a breath. It’s not dead air, but instead a gift to the listener. When you pause, your audience can actually process what you say and remember your message.

Here’s the best way to practice. In your head, think:
“Wait for it… Wait for it… Wait for it…” Then deliver your line! You’ll create active energy that your audience can’t help but pick up on. They’ll be eating – or rather listening – right out of your hand.
We’re. Absolutely. Certain.

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