Pause. Just Pause.


“I’m sorry I love you.”

“I’m sorry. I love you.”

What a difference a bit of punctuation makes. VW recently ran a series of ads that made this clearer than ever.

A pause when you’re speaking is like including punctuation in writing.

Learning to use the pause is a critical skill for becoming an influential communicator. When you pause, you draw your audience in.

Think of the pause in “Bond. James Bond.” Now, compare that to “Bond James Bond.” The pause adds drama and makes the Bond name sound like it matters. When you pause, you add that same significance to your speech.

Pausing also gives you a chance to catch your breath, refocus, and feel less stressed. Best of all, it’s a natural way to get rid of those filler non-words like “um,” “uh,” “you know,” and the newest member of the non-word family – “literally.”

Here are some tips to practice your pause:

• First and foremost, find out if you pause. Record yourself and listen to the playback.

• Read an upcoming presentation or speech aloud. Challenge yourself to take a full breath at the end of each paragraph. Make an effort to notice punctuation, especially those commas and periods, and pause accordingly.

• Pause for a moment longer than you feel comfortable. Try pausing for 2 – 3 seconds. It might feel like an eternity to you, but it will sound perfectly normal to your audience.

A pause is a powerful thing. Pausing is the simplest way to emphasize a key part of your message or dramatize a point that needs to hit home. Use it.

Typos and Airplane Trays

Ever flipped down an airplane tray and said, “Eeeeew”? If these things aren’t serviced, checked and cleaned, what about the engine? Am I safe? Am I taken care of? Makes you wonder. Just last week, we received an email to *protected email* that referenced Mr. Becker. Since my last name is … Continue reading

What’s Your Mindset?

One of my extracurricular activities for the last four years has been coaching soccer. Now that our team is U9 (nine years old and under, for those of you without kids), I’ve just about reached the final year of my pay grade. Until this point, the biggest difference in the … Continue reading

Rule of Three

The Three Musketeers. Sex, drugs and rock n roll. The Star Wars trilogy. Ever notice that throughout literature, pop culture and film, three is a magic number? Beyoncé and her R&B group Destiny’s Child know this well. They started as a quartet but only hit it big as a trio. … Continue reading

Emotion Earns the Extra Mile

For Father’s Day this year, my three boys joined forces and created a special homemade book filled with memories about what I meant to them. It was bound together with a little help from Mom, I presume. And they presented it to me while we were away on a family … Continue reading