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.

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