Strong speakers often pause at key moments in their speeches. That allows audience members to more fully absorb the message and adds emphasis on important points.
Short pauses also allow speakers to gather their thoughts and prepare for the next portion. Inserting a pause may feel awkward to you at first, so use these tips to integrate them naturally:
- Slow down. If you’re speaking too quickly, pauses may be jarring to the audience. You might even look as though you’ve lost your train of thought. However, if you speak at a slower pace, a pause will seem much more natural.
- Let your voice trail. To emphasize your point, let your voice drop at the end of your sentence. Audience members will tune in to hear what you are saying, and your pause will be much more effective when you have captured everyone’s attention.
— Adapted from “Use the Power of Pause When Speaking,” Jerry Weissman, www.hbr.org.