A Key Element in Effective Public Speaking: Timing and Pauses
Mar 28, 2016 | By: Pat B. Freeman
Timing is essential when speaking in public. The cliché: It is not what you say but more on how you say it, applies so much to public speaking. Where you put your pauses during your presentation is an important ingredient of maintaining an audience that is free from dosing off. Add a little humor and you are definitely on a roll.
The Unexpected: Timing is the element involved during reactions that are spontaneous, especially when there are developments in your delivery that are unexpected.
Keep in mind, though, that when you expect laughter from something you said, avoid speaking because whatever it is that you are saying will most likely be drowned out by the noise of the audience.
Audience Size: The audience size could also affect the way you use your timing. When the audience is small, the presentation you have will most likely be delivered in less time compared to if you have a large audience. The reaction of a large audience can be a little longer and not as quick as the small audience. Therefore, for the large audience, you also have to wait until the ripple effect of your punch line reaches the people in the back row.
“Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable...attainable. Have the patience. Wait it out. It’s all about timing.”
— Stacey Charter
Attention-Grabber: Believe it or not, putting that moment of silence in your presentation is a sign of a skilled presenter. No public speaker should rant constantly in the hopes of keeping the attention of an audience. Instead, this is a sure way to lose their attention. Being able to pause at the right moment in your talk makes you appear as a confident expert.
Using a brief pause is the best way to separate your thoughts. These pauses may only last for half a second to two. You do not have to count, though; just remember to slow down. Pausing gives the audience a chance to absorb everything you are trying to get across. Pauses are also an effective way to highlight something. Put it before any word or thought you want the audience to focus on, and they will flow along with you.
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Pat B. Freeman is an inspirational speaker, trainer, and professional coach – certified by the John Maxwell Team. She began speaking in front of audiences at age 7. Pat is the CEO and Founder of Pat B. Freeman LLC, a speaking, and coaching company that offers leadership empowerment training for professional and entrepreneur-spirited women. She has a passion for working to help women unleash their authentic inner passion and find purpose and fulfillment in their career and life. Pat provides one-on-one and group workshops, webinars, online courses, and coaching sessions to help each person achieve their “Big Dream” goals. Public Speaking is just one of the necessary programs she offers to create success for women. She is also an author and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years in Community College Leadership in Adult Education.