Pausing for thinking is another way pausing needs to be incorporated in public speaking.
A vital aspect of motivational and persuasive speaking is power statements and power questions. To enhance the power of your speech, questions should be employed as if to open the storage bins of the mind for the information you wish to place inside.
Just as important as questions is the timing of the questions you ask. Like white space on a sheet of paper, timing when you do not speak, or pausing is as important is essential.
Questions need answers. If you want to give answers, the mind of those in the audience need to be ready to receive them. You need to allow time for them to process the question. If you give an answer, they need time to process and decide what they will do with the information you share.
If we remember only a small percentage of what we hear, of the 400 words we can process a minute, only a portion will be remembered. Pausing for thinking allows a place for that memory.The most precious things in speech are the pauses.
- Sir Ralph Richardson
Example: Imagine your giving a lecture using as a reference Robert T. Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Your theme is asset management. You ask the audience a question to draw them into your theme that poses a dilemma for them. You know that unless they read the book, they will not know the answer. So allow a pit stop for the mind. You use the question for setting up the pause.
You ask, "Is your home an asset or a liability? What would most people say?" At the asking of the question, mentally say to your self what the answer would be.
Say it slowly and distinctly. Say to your self, "Well, most people would say it is an asset. But the fact that he is asking the question means it may not be. Hmmmm." That would take between 5 to 8 seconds. Allow the audience to have that kind of time.
Here in lies a challenge. If you have not mastered the pause, you will feel like your dying. The silence will kill you, or at least you think you are going to die. You will learn that it will empower you. It will enhance your ability to move an audience.
A word of caution here. Overusing will result in the lecture feeling like it is being dragged along. These need to be for key points, used judiciously. It is just like an auto race, if you make too many pit stops, you will finish last, if at all.
Even worse, you will sound like Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series. He spoke every sentence with more than one pause. It was for effect and it was his trademark. It need not and should not be yours.
What about when there is a disturbance. This is yet another reason for public speakers to pause. In this instance, the pause is not governed by you. It is governed by what is going on around you.