Thursday 13th June, 2013

Let them Think

Are you one of those people who is obsessed with filling every second with words?

Words. Words. Words.

When I suggest they might build some silence into their talk they look very confused.

Think about it.

When you listen to a lecture do you really think you hear every word that’s being said? No. When something of interest catches your imagination you will, even if only momentarily, break concentration and follow your thoughts. This is absolutely natural and part of the process of learning. Your brain is asking how what you just heard fits with what you already know and how you might apply this new knowledge in your own life.

If you’re a public speaker on a mission (and I certainly hope you are) then you must build ‘think time’ into your talk.

  • Use pausing to let your audience digest what you’ve said;
  • Repeat yourself;
  • Say what you’ve already said again with different words or different tonality.

Public speakers who burble on regardless of the needs of the audience are the worst kind of speakers to listen to. If you want to be remembered as a great public speaker, build some space into your talk. Let them think about what you’re saying. You will end up saying less but in doing so your audience will probably end up hearing more.

Categories: How to, Pausing, Tonality


  1. Dan Leyes says:

    So true, Julie. I train most to speak extemporaneously. While they search for the best way to express/encode their next idea, the audience is using that same pause to process the previous idea. It works for both speaker and listener. Couldn’t agree more with all you say here.


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