Have the courage to pause

emoji-cameraBy Ann M

I want to say “thank you” to Ascot Speakers for helping me to become more aware of my timing when delivering my speeches.

Socially, I always make a joke about the fact that I talk a lot because I don’t like long silences. This is my standing joke, to cover up the fact that I like to chatter.

Video

However, on reviewing the videos of my speeches, I now realise that those ‘long silences’ are barely perceptible to the audience.

What I imagined were lengthy and awkward pauses were, in actual fact, totally non-existent! There were moments when, in my own mind I thought I was going blank and saying nothing at all.

When I reviewed the video, I realised that there were no pauses and, in fact, I was speeding along at a pace.

Under pressure

When we are nervous or under pressure we produce more adrenaline, which speeds us up in every activity. Now that I understand this, and having seen the evidence on video, I’m looking forward to improving this aspect of my delivery, having the courage to pause at intervals during my speech, to let the audience digest what I have to say.

It has been a huge help to review the videos of my public speaking (confidential, for my eyes only). You can compose a well-constructed speech, but if it is delivered too fast, it loses some of its effect.

Ambition

My ambition now is to focus on a slower delivery, to learn to become comfortable with short pauses after making a point or delivering a joke.

The audience needs time to digest the points you are making; they will enjoy your delivery all the more if they can savour your main points before you move on to the next section of your speech.

While at first I was a little dubious about being filmed in an anxious situation, I’ve come to appreciate how valuable a tool this is in developing my confidence and skill as a speaker.

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