52 PRIME Speaking Tips – #05 of 52

The most powerful thing you can say as a speaker!


Yes, remember to pause.

Novice speakers run through their scripts, rush their deliveries and dump their speeches on their audiences.

World Class speakers remember to pause,. When you do that, your audience feels the power of your message, the confidence in your delivery and connect with the emotions in your content.

It will also help you to collect your thoughts and find your words.

It will prevent you from using the distracting filler words.

When should you pause?

  • Pause right before you start to speak. Rush to start and you appear to be in a rush to finish.
  • Pause right before saying something important like a keyword or an important point. It will draw your audience in and connect them to your content.
  • Pause right before you say the punch word in your humorous line.
  • Pause right after you have said something profound so that you trigger their internal dialogue and give them critical thinking time.
  • Pause right after you asked the audience a question so that they can delve into their minds to think about the right response.

 How long should you pause?

  • long enough to draw in your audience and
  • short enough so that you don’t appear to have forgotten your speech

 What to do when you pause?        

  • Do nothing
  • Don’t move around
  • Don’t play with your hands
  • Don’t lose eye contact.
  • You can still scan the audience.

 No word is ever as effective as the well timed pause

– Mark Twain


Don’t pause in a way your audience can predict your next pause “Hey, now she is going to pause for 3 seconds” No!

If the timing of your pause is not predictable, your pause would be powerful. Remember anything predictable or artificial is boring.

Manoj Vasudevan

Now, are you ready to say the most powerful thing as a speaker?

What do you think of the PRIME Speaking tips I send you every week? Let me know using the comments section below.


  1. Dear Manoj,

    Thanks for this great tips. This is exactly what I need to learn. I realised that I am always rushing to start and rushing to finish when I’m nervous. The pause does help me to calm my nerve.

  2. I often use PAUSE during my lecture in the class room. and i found that it is very usefull for me to get an idea whether the students are following me or not? . It also give them time to think and respond to my lecture.

  3. Hi manoj,

    After using your tips for “pauses” I realized that I am able to eliminate the habit of speaking too fast in every toasmaster projects. Thanks for your tips.


    Jun Song

  4. Dear MV, We call this pauses magical. Be it a song or speech a well timed pause can be electrifying. But you have mentioned when and how and thats something to learn and relish. Looking forward to your 6th tip….

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