Harness the Power of the Pause when Speaking

Show Notes

Ten ways you can use the pause in your presentation for greater impact
Why is the pause such a powerful tool yet abused

Episode 152: 

In this episode George Torok examines the power of the pause and presents 10 reasons and examples to use in your presentation for greater success.

  • Are you using the purpose on purpose to engage your audience?

  • What lessons can you take from comedy about the pause?

  • When are good times to insert the pause?

  • How long should you pause?

  • What if you pause by mistake?

  • How can you embrace and enhance your comfort with the pause?

George Torok is a specialist in communication skills. He coaches executives to deliver their message more successfully. That might be in conversation or presentation.

Learn more about his programs and the results of his clients at 



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Excerpts from this episode:

The old cliché suggests that “Silence is Golden”. There are times when you might appreciate some silence in your life. On the other hand, silence can feel disquieting, disturbing and anxiety ridden.

When you are speaking to an audience you might consider silence the enemy or the sign of a bad presentation. Imagine that you get lost in your thoughts and stop speaking. You go silent and anguished while trying to recover and start speaking again. You might even feel that any noise is preferable to silence. That’s when the umms and ahhs escape your lips.

Don’t panic. Consider the positive benefits of pauses in your presentation. Even an unplanned pause can be perceived positively by the audience.

Many speakers would improve the power of their presentation if they inserted tactical pauses throughout their presentation. The ability to pause might be the most important technique that speakers need to learn. It might sound simple but like many simple lessons, it’s not easy.

It can be extremely difficult to pause when you are delivering a presentation. You might feel compelled to speak because you believe silence is the enemy. You perceive pausing as a sign of weakness. The reality is that silence could be your most powerful communication tool.

Perhaps you’re not convinced. That’s understandable. Consider these examples and reasons to pause during your presentation.


Recapture Attention

It’s almost impossible to hold the attention of the audience throughout your presentation. You need to recapture their attention. Pausing is an effective way to do that. Simply look at the audience with a calm smile and say nothing for as long as it takes. That could be several seconds that feels like eons to you.


Invite Interaction

When you want the audience to speak you must allow them that silence to think and respond. When you want a response, ask a question and wait in silence for the first answer. Then prod the group for another opinion and wait.

Pausing while standing before your audience can feel horrendous, yet it might be the most powerful presentation technique for you to master.



Your host is George Torok

George is a specialist in executive communication skills. That includes conversation and presentation. He’s fascinated by way we communicate and influence behaviors. He delivers training and coaching programs to help leaders and promising professionals deliver the intended message for greater success.


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