Adding Silence When you Speak – Don’t Stuff Your Audience

How well do you get on with adding silence when you speak to groups?

It’s not always easy to do, and something I’ve had to learn and still occasionally remind myself about.

I used to cram my talks full of content and worry about running out of time.

A quote about the importance of silence and space when you speak

If you can separate your presentation or talk from you and see it as a living, external entity – it needs space to breathe.

So do you. (Especially if you’re nervous; even though it’s counter-intuitive and all you want to do is get the whole thing over with.)

And so does your audience.

Let’s talk specific timeframes

If you’re talking for more than 30 seconds without any silence at all, you’re not giving your audience a chance to properly reflect on what you’ve just said.

30 seconds isn’t that long for you. But it sometimes is for your audience.

For someone listening to you, think of it like continuing to put food in their mouth when they haven’t properly chewed or swallowed their current mouthful!

When you allow chewing and digestion time for your content, your audience will have time to understand and absorb your points.

So whether it’s because you’re nervous, or excited, or it’s simply a habit:

Remembering to breathe and stop talking for small gaps of time will help your presence levels, AND your audience understanding and retention levels. Which is really the most important thing.

Tips on timing and giving your mind something to do:

Squeeze your toes for each second that you pause. A two-second pause is usually a good amount of space, even if it feel like a long time to you. Try recording yourself and see how it sounds – it works. You sound composed, and your audience has a moment to catch up.

And if you’re asking a complex question or showing a complex slide, allow 6 – 9 seconds. I know, that seems like a lot! But again, it really works well for your audience.

Wishing you great speaking experiences.

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