First, let’s talk about what doesn’t happen when a speaker pauses.
- The audience does not think that you’ve forgotten something.
- Nobody can hear your heart beating.
- Nobody will think that you are stupid.
- The audience does not think that you are a bad speaker.
- The audience does not think that your speech is over.
So what does happen when a speaker pauses?
- You look composed and confident.
- Your ethos (credibility) is enhanced.
- The audience has time to think about what you’ve just said.
- The focus of the audience is squarely on you.
- The audience is engaged.
Learning how to pause when you speak, and becoming comfortable with the silence, is one of the most important skills and that any public speaker can master.
I know that it is not easy to stand in silence in front of a group of people. The time feels almost unbearably long. But during that time, your connection with the audience will deepen for the five reasons stated above. Trust me, it is worth the effort.
If you want to know more about pauses, I have written several posts on the subject including this one. In it, I offer tips on when to pause and how to get more comfortable with pausing.