4 Reasons Pauses Are Great For Communication


By Emma Serlin
March 3, 2016

Pauses are crucial to good communication

These aren’t nebulous empty pauses, but little breaks, which signify a unit of thought. You can think of it as a musical phrase which is part of a longer melody, that gives rhythm and pace to a piece of music. Pauses do the same for speech.

1. Taking pauses can make you sound steady and in control

We tend to speak in units of thoughts or meaning, rather than great big long sentences. Try to break up a long thought or sentence, into smaller ones. It’s not about getting to a full stop, but about holding the listeners attention at each stage of your communication.

And the more complicated the ideas, the more important it is that they are given sufficient time to be understood. The powerful pause is often observed in politics - watch a Barack Obama speech if you want to see what we mean.

2. Pauses gives you time to think as you speak

Pauses gives you time to process your thoughts and focus on the key words. You don’t need to rush ahead of yourself. If you are nervous, or need to some extra processing time, this is a great ploy.

3. Pauses help the listener

Most importantly, it allows for your listener to process each part of your thought, and stay with you, the speaker. It means that in some deeper way, they feel acknowledged and part of the communication dynamic. 

In this video, Emma Serlin shows you why pauses are so important…

Top Tip: If you have an important speech or presentation mark your notes with a red / to make sure you pause in all the right places.

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