Pause for Effect

Pauses can be powerful in your communication. Here are a couple for you to try out:

1.) Dramatic

You’re delivering your presentation; you’ve arrived at a particularly important point which would benefit from some emphasis and gravitas. At this stage, speaking more loudly and gesticulating could increase the material’s significance to your audience.

Far more effective, however, is to deliver the vital point slowly and clearly and then – maintaining eye contact with your audience – say absolutely nothing. Smile, let the words hang in the air for a few moments until it the atmosphere almost feels tense, and then resume talking and move on to your next point. This technique requires a little courage but can pack quite a punch, with very little energy.

2.) Surprise Attack

I believe that the more someone speaks without substance, the less likely people are to listen. This could be someone dominating a meeting with petty points or relentlessly churning out social media posts of random thoughts. Imagine a group of four people having a discussion. One speaks for 50% of the time, and the others for 30%, 15% and 5% each. If the 5% person listens to everything that’s been said, waits until the right moment and then says something significant, it will have a huge effect – this could be getting a good laugh, or making everyone else stop and think. Much better.  Then perhaps the other people will encourage a more even distribution of speaking time.

Whether in a meeting, casual conversation or on Twitter, if you want people to listen then please wait until you have something relevant and useful to say, and deliver it at just the right time. Nothing interesting to say yet? Best shut up, then. Be smart: bide your time.


Saying nothing can mean that when you do speak, people will think more about what you say. Counter-intuitive but effective.


Say Something Worthwhile

Introvert Beats Extrovert




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