Silence is Golden - The power of the PAUSE!
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Silence is Golden - The power of the PAUSE!

Karen O'Donnell

My Biggest Lesson was when I had the Hardest Knock!

For one of my first speach contests, I developed and delivered my speech, even tried it out in front of my unsuspecting family -it got the Thumbs up!!  Most speech contests had a maxmimum time of 7 minutes and my speech came in at 6:45.   However, I found out that this particular contest had a maximum time of just 5 minutes!!  I found out this vital detail, a day before the contest.

Now I had a dilemma, the content of the speech was really clever and I didn’t want to leave anything out…. So… solution was to ‘speed it up’…. I practised a few times and yes I got it in at 5 minutes!!!  I stood up, gave my winning speech – sat down and was sure I did well……… I WASN’T EVEN PLACED !!!  I was gutted.  After the contest I decided to seek feedback from members of the audience …. They all missed my clever plot and the reason was I spoke way too fast for them.

This was one of the hardest, though best lesson, I have learned in speaking.

Silence – the most important tool in delivering a speech, is being willing to be silent.  

There is no quicker way to have your audience build confidence in you then to show poise through your willingness to be silent.  If you are comfortable enough to allow moments of silence in your speech, your audience will be very comfortable with you.  This helps to establish a connection. 


The Power of the Pause lets the audience members taste, savour and digest what you say before you go onto your next point.  Let them digest what they learned. Your audience will also feel like they are part of the conversation.  It will turn your audience from passive receivers, into active participants as you allow time for them to reflect and also give time for them to answer. 


Pause is a vital key to any presentation.   Its one of the first points I teach new speakers – Remember the Pause !! By using it effectively it can make a good speech, great!

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