Pausing for Circumstances

Managing Interruptions for Public Speakers

Pausing for circumstances considers the interruptions facing public speakers and how to manage them.

Pausing for Circumstances

    You may face interruptions that will require a pause. To keep talking would often be useless as the audience will be distracted anyway.

    Interruptions may be a baby crying, a loud truck or train passing, a jet flying overhead. Although rare, interruptions do happen. If you cannot raise your voice to compensate, then it is time to pause.

    Fire engines likewise cause a bit of noise and can stop a speech.

    If it is a police siren, sometimes canned ad lib or having a prepared one liner can help minimize the interruption time. Here is an example of what you can do.

      Look at your watch and say....Hmmmm, my ride is early. They will just have to wait. Then tye it into what your saying.

The Worse Case Scenario

    One of the worst distractions a speaker can be faced with is someone in the audience getting ill to the point of needing an ambulance.

    If the person is still conscious and awaiting care to arrive, some experienced speakers have chosen to keep talking. It may be a hard call to make. If you chose to keep going and a large number of the audience is aware of the problem, what should you do?

    Again, some experienced speakers explain why the show must go on.

    Even though your reason may be that you want to accomplish your goal, that would not be the best reason to explain to the audience. It will make you sound heartless. You might say something like, “To minimize the embarrassment to our dear colleague, (dear friend, our visitor, etc) lets continue so we can let the ambulance crew best do what they do.

    Your effectiveness has been compromised either way. This allows you to keep going. It allows your audience to know what is going on. It makes it easier for the ambulance crew to accomplish their mission, which they will appreciate.

    Most of all, it does something for the patient. For the person who is ill, it sends a message that what is going on is not so bad. It alleviates the stress of feeling like they ruined things for everyone.

Other Public Speaking Pauses

Pausing for Audience Response

Pausing for Emphasis & Drama and Transitions

Public Speaking Pausing

Go To the Speaking Skills The Pausing for Circumstances Website

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