22: Elaine A. Clark helps you FIND YOUR VOICE and SPEAK so PEOPLE WILL LISTEN!
Writers use dashes, ellipses, commas, colons, and semi-colons to indicate pauses. Speakers need to fill in those spaces with an emotion and attitude that rides on the breath and connects the statements together. Contrary to what some people think, adding a pause doesn’t mean that the speaker disengages, quits working, closes the mouth, and stops the airflow. Pauses should be filled with opinion and attitude to activate audiences, add impact, anticipation, drama, comedy, and memory retention. Pauses are also used to shift focus from one topic to another.
There are three main areas where speakers can add pauses.
- Pauses can create a dialog with the listener when a statement has numerous choices and answers.
- Comedians use pauses to get a laugh.
- Longer dramatic or ‘pregnant pauses’ add impact.
Pauses add tempo changes and add jazz to how you talk. Click the video to watch or select the audio podcast by clicking start or selecting the audio player in the icon below.
The Power of the Pause
Anticipation… wait for it… moments are powerful. Why? Properly placed pauses engage the audience and make them active listeners. Hi, I’m Elaine Clark with another micro-learning Real Talking Tips speech communication lesson.
Remember the Charlie Brown cartoon specials and how the teacher’s voice was portrayed? From Charlie Brown’s perspective, his teacher didn’t say words but sounded like this: Whawhawhawhawhawha. That same droning, monosyllabic speech pattern can sound like that to us, too. Non-stop talking can easily become background noise. So, rather than giving the listener a chance to tune out and let their mind wander, find an opportunity to sprinkle in some pauses. A well-placed pause can stimulate the listener’s mind to think of the answer and fill in the blank before the speaker completes the thought. Pauses can change passive audiences to active listeners who feel included in the dialog. Consequently, a simple well-placed pause can stimulate ‘active listening’ and better retention of the information.
How to Speak So People Listen
Singers and musicians know the importance of rhythm and tempo changes in a song. That’s especially apparent when the tune shifts from the verse to the familiar repeatable chorus. A few episodes ago in Real Talking Tips Episode 17, we discussed how to be a Sing-Talker. Adding pauses is another way to change the tune and speak so people will listen. When I interviewed podcasters for my book, Voice-Overs for Podcasting, the recurring theme from the experts was “add pauses” because listeners need time to process the information.
A perfectly placed pause is like waiting for the slot machine result. The coin goes in, the spinning motion is activated, and the gambler waits to see if the pictures line up to… win or lose.
So, where should pauses be added? There are three main areas to add pauses.
1. Pauses can create a dialog with the listener wherever there are unknown multiple-choice answers.
The answer is… green.
Be sure to attend the… 10 o’clock meeting.
Yesterday you listened to… Latin Jazz.
Let’s meet at the… grocery store.
Today’s guest is… Jane Doe-Allen.
2. Comedians use pauses to get a laugh.
My son’s name is… ah… John. I mean, Jay.
3. A dramatic or ‘pregnant pause’ that lasts 3-7 seconds adds impact.
You’ve been waiting for it and it’s finally here. Introducing………… The Smart Gadget!
Let’s explore how you can add pauses in this next workout section.
4 Lessons to Use Pauses to Jazz up the Speech Tune
The focus of Real Talking Tips 18-22 is Tempo Changes in Speech. So far, we explored sentence structure variations; alternating slow, medium, and fast paces; speeding up on lists; and, slowing down on good information and speeding up or “throwing away” bad information. This last Tempo Change mini-series episode focuses on jazzing up the speech tune by strategically adding pauses. Pauses can be used to activate the listener, add impact, anticipation, drama, comedy, and memory retention. Pauses are also helpful when shifting focus from one topic to another. Please keep in mind that pauses are not full stops where the mouth closes and the speaker disengages momentarily. Purposeful pauses should be filled with emotion, energy, and air.
The following is a paragraph demonstrating how various pauses can be used. I suggest that you read the paragraph twice: first time without pauses and the second time with pauses. Writers use dashes, ellipses, commas, colons, and semi-colons to indicate pauses. Remember that adding a pause does not mean that the speaker quits working. Quite the contrary; the pause should be filled with emotion that rides on the breath to connect the elements of the statement together. So don’t stop, close the mouth, and quit feeling when you see an ellipses… comma, dash- colon: or semi-colon;.
For practice purposes, we’ll use one of the scripts from my book, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is. Record or video yourself reading the two versions so you can watch, listen, and review the different speech styles.
Lesson 1: Read without pausing.
Stop what you’re doing! You’re about to experience the most amazing product ever – the Elliptical Express. Using Euclidean geometry, Directrix has created a new way to calculate quantum effects. It uses hypotrochoid and electromagnetic radion. Genius, right? And it’s all right here in our new patented device.
Lesson 2: Read with pauses.
Stop what you’re doing!……. You’re about to experience the most amazing product ever – the Elliptical Express. – Using Euclidean geometry, Directrix, has created a new way to calculate quantum effects; it uses hypotrochoid and electromagnetic radion. – Genius, right? And it’s all right here in our new patented device.
Lesson 3: Review your recordings.
Lesson 4: Review the various types of pauses that are colorfully marked below.
So you see, pauses have just as much importance in speech as voiced words
Thanks for being part of the Real Talking Tips community where the goal is to understand, explore, practice, and improve speech communication! And no hard work goes without recognition. For completing the 5-part ‘Add Tempo Changes’ series, you earned another certificate. Congratulations!
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Tune in to Real Talking Tips Episode 23 where we’ll start a new 4-part mini-series on how to use the speech “Power Box.”