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When to pause in a speech

When giving a speech, silence can be golden. Here are a few ways you can incorporate pauses into your next speech. Use them to your advantage so you can connect with your audience better.

Start with a pause

Consider pausing for a moment at the start of your presentation rather than leaping straight into your speech.

Pause to maintain your pace
Pauses are great if you fee like you’re talking too fast and can help you to maintain your pace. Pausing for even half a second can calm you down and start to bring you back to a regular pace. This in turn will help your audience to understand an follow your message.

Pause if you lose your spot
Many people lose their spot and immediately panic. Sometimes they’ll even announce to their audience that they are lost. Never do this. Instead calmly pause and give yourself a second to think. Then continue your presentation from where you left off.

Pause at the end of your sentences
The end of a sentence forms a natural point in your presentation where you can pause for a moment and then continue on.

Pause at the end of your paragraphs
We can use short or longer pauses to symbolise when we’ve finished a paragraph.

Pause for emphasis
When you want to emphasize a key word (or phrase), try pausing immediately before and immediately after the key word (or phrase).

Pause for rhetorical questions
“Who in this audience wants to be a millionaire?” Pausing here would be an important consideration. Pausing at the end of a rhetorical question will give your audience time to think and time to answer the question in their own minds.

Pause when you deliver a new slide
Pause as you flick to a new slide. This will give people time to read that slide and absorb its message before you continue with your speech.

Pause after a joke
Pausing after a joke will give people time to laugh or time to understand the punch line.