Presentation Skills – Developing The Power Of The Pause

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Is silence beneficial?

When speaking in front of a group of people, it is natural for some of us to encounter stage fright, as we may not be used to public speaking. Our anxiety may cause us to start to talk very quickly, and at the same time feel unable to insert pauses into our speech.

Alternately, talking endlessly may be a sign of having a fear of silence. This comes about because people tend to associate silence with incompetence, and thus avoid it like a plague to avoid appearing amateurish while speaking.

In reality, silence is beneficial. Making a point to pause now and then during your presentation allows your audience time to take in and understand your material to a greater extent. They can then retain the given information better.

Understand your audience

One way to understand how your audience feels when you speak quickly without pausing is to think back on your school lecture days. There must have been at least one lecturer who bombarded you with facts, and gave you little time to absorb what you heard.

Therefore, to avoid becoming such a lecturer when presenting, pause frequently to help your audience absorb the information presented. Also, hold their attention during these pauses by engaging them through eye contact, checking to see if they are following the presentation.

Pauses are beneficial to the speaker as well! When you pause, you give yourself time to consolidate your thoughts so that you can be clear when communicating. Your audience will understand and respect that you are both able to keep them attentive and satisfy their needs, and thus be more accepting of what you have to say.

What about PowerPoint Presentations?

Of course, this technique can also be applied to your PowerPoint Presentations.

After going through each slide, pause to give your audience time to take in the information they have been given. This means that you should pause for a longer period of time if you give them more information to absorb.

To make sure you have a hold on your audience’s attention, do not ever display all the points on your slide immediately, because the new information displayed on the screen will distract the audience from the point you are presenting.

Your presentation would be more effective if you employ the use of the PowerPoint’s “On-Click” feature in the animation section, so that points are displayed one by one. Your audience can then focus on one point at a time, and be able to understand your presentation better.

Remember, it’s important that you give time for your audience to think through your material. Click here to see this technique in practice. Kelvin is a dynamic and eloquent communicator and an experienced trainer of Power Presentations workshops. He is a certified Microsoft PowerPoint specialist and also specialises in giving corporate slides makeovers. To receive free tips and techniques on PowerPoint Presentations, visit

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