The power of the Pause - How comfortable are you with silence

When you’re making a speech or presenting in a meeting, how comfortable are you with moments of silence or pauses? If you are one of the many people uncomfortable being the centre of attention, then the answer is probably ‘not at all’.

Most people fall into the trap of thinking that when they are commanding the attention of others, (in a meeting or a more formal presentation), their ability to keep talking is a reflection of how much they know about the topic, and therefore, how credible they are. They are often uncomfortable with pauses, as they mistakenly believe that this is a sign of being unsure, or of being nervous. So people talk. They fill the silence.

But have you ever noticed that the reverse is often true. Even though it might feel like we need to talk to fill the silence, only people who are truly confident in their knowledge and comfortable in their own skin, feel at liberty to pause and reflect – mid presentation. They take a moment before responding. They stop. You wait. And in that gap you buy into their credibility.

Reading between the lines, we see that the ‘pause’ can, in fact, be one of the hallmarks of a credible communicator. Only people with true confidence will take the space they need in the conversation.

So the next time you feel nervous, or under pressure to fill that space… stop, take a moment, and in doing so, build your credibility.

Coaching tips:

  • How will you use pauses in your next delivery to enhance your credibility and confidence?
  • Who do you know, that is comfortable with taking their time in a conversation? What do they believe about themselves or their topic that allows them to do this?
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As a professional People Whisperer, Anneli has been working with leaders and teams to improve their communication and interpersonal intelligence for almost a decade.
If you’d like to improve your interpersonal effectiveness and influence, or decode the behaviours’ of others, contact Anneli today. @AnneliBlundell


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