During a presentation, people share a substantial amount of information. Even though the audience is listening, sometimes a message might get missed. You don’t want people feeling that they need to make an effort in order to keep up. That’s why it’s important to be intentional about pausing during certain moments in a presentation.
1. In the introduction
In the introduction, you need to give people a moment to get used to your voice, presence, and presentation style. If you share your ideas too quickly at the start, the audience has to work to keep up with you. Then, if they feel like they need to put in effort at the start (before the information gets complicated) people will just tune out. That’s why you want to pause between your ideas at the beginning, so that your audience has a moment to connect with you and your material.
2. Before you share important information
People need a moment to process the last idea they heard. Therefore, if you are sharing important information, be sure to pause right before you share it. Otherwise, even if your message is clear, your audience might not hear it because they are still digesting the last thought.
3. When you share your contribution to a project
Background information can easily get confused with new information. That’s especially true if someone is not familiar with the topic you are presenting. However, you want your effort to be acknowledged and stand out. Therefore, I recommend pausing before you share your contribution to a project to make sure it’s recognized.
4. Between slides
Every time you click to a new slide, the audience needs a moment to process a new visual. If you talk over your slides, then the audience feels like they need to catch up. That’s why I recommend pausing every time you click to a new slide. It gives the audience a chance to process the new image before they refocus on your speech.
5. Before your last sentence
A lot of presenters rush through the end of their presentation. When that happens, the audience doesn’t have time to digest the last thought before everything ends. Therefore, before your last sentence, be sure to take a moment and breathe before you share your last thought. Not only does this help the presentation feel more polished, but it also allows your conclusion to land much more effectively.
Pauses are powerful. That’s why I recommend pausing during key moments of your talk. This way, you help your audience relax, process information, and enjoy listening to your presentation.
Author: Bri McWhorter
Bri McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate.