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The Power Of The Pause

Posted on Feb 07, 2012

What's the toughest part of public speaking for many presenters to master? The pause.

Stressed speakers running on adrenaline often go flying from one sentence or phrase to the next without any break.

That hurts a presentation by making the presenter appear harried and garbling their words, according to Jerry Weissman, a corporate presentations coach.

In a blog post at the Harvard Business Review, he compares the effect of stress on speech tempo to a Woody Allen film.

Most of his characters as reflections of his own public persona are neurotic people who get into complicated situations, Weissman wrote. As soon as the plot thickens, the characters' words accelerate like a Ferrari on the open road.

Payments professionals are challenged every day to communicate critical, time-sensitive information to a variety of audiences.

It's important that this information is understood from both a tactical and strategic level, explained Leilani Doyle, vice president of marketing and product management at US Dataworks.

However, many times we get caught in the sheer volume of payment and cash flow information and forget that secret for impact the pause, Doyle said.

Numbers can tell a story, just like words. Financial professionals must remember to use that pause to ensure that your audience not only grasps the numeric details, but the overall financial picture that they paint.

The best way to create a pause, according to Weissman, is to drop your voice at the end of phrases.

So the next time you're giving a presentation, remember to take a deep breath and pause.

Source: Harvard Business Review, February 2012