The ‘Pause’ – 6th October 2016

An Educational article by Sue Shaw

Spaced out for success


Put another way, space brings clarity and understanding.   In a speech, space is referred to as the pause. The pause is an essential element of speech craft. To maximise the effect of your presentations, identify where you need to add pauses and mark them in as stage notes on your script e.g. ^. Enhance your pauses further with appropriate actions such as a raised eyebrow, a change of position or a hand gesture. Use the pause:-

  • before you start to get your audience’s attention;
  • to make sure that your first words are heard;
  • for dramatic effect and to increase suspense or develop emotional connection;
  • for emphasis and to create impact for each point;
  • between sections to indicate that you are moving on to a new subject;
  • to allow your audience to catch up and take on your key messages;
  • to enable the audience to see and enjoy or understand a visual aid;
  • to allow your audience to react to humour or respond to questions, even those that are rhetorical;
  • to consider your response to a question from the audience;
  • at the end of your presentation to acknowledge applause.

You also need a pause ……. to breathe. After your talk take a few quiet moments to reflect on your performance.

Finally – If you haven’t enough time to include pauses within your presentation, you probably have too much content.

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