It’s underestimated and strategic
I don’t know about you but it’s easy to find yourself on a ‘gabbling to no-where’. That’s a phrase a client used recently and it’s spot on for what can happen when you don’t give yourself time to breathe and – most importantly – it gives the other person time to process and really hear – what you’re saying.
Pausing is a great way for you to calm down, to consider what you’re actually saying and – as I call it – to really land your message. The pause is so key in fact, instead of it being something you suddenly remember to do try to make a powerful, purposeful pause part of your conversations.
There are so many benefits to slowing down. We can find ourselves gabbling and thinking as we speak when we’re not prepared or when we’re nervous. When we’re in the workplace where we’re really trying to land a message and get our point across, the power of pause is multifunctional. Let me explain.
- It makes you regulate your breathing, you stop – take a breath, look around – if you have to, count to say 3 and then keep going
- It helps others keep up and – often – keep awake. It’s very easy to tune you out when everything merges together – giving your speech pauses and then, interspersing them with checking in phrases like “any questions so far?” or “what thoughts do you have so far Amanda?” which also help calm you and show you that you actually care about the other person’s experience and it buys you time. Time to consider the route the conversation is going, time to gather your thoughts and take on feedback AND time to slow you pace of speech down if you know you speak – as so may women do – too quickly.
- Taking a deep breath or just a breath itself gives you so many benefits – more oxygen helps your brain be more nimble – it helps you regulate your tone. I often take a sip of water, for example, not because I’m thirsty but because it’s a pause, it slows me down, it allows me, as it will you, those all important few seconds to consider what comes next.
You see here’s the thing – when you pause and make pausing part of your conversation, you appear more in control, more considered, calmer, more certain and these are all traits which point to leadership and responsibility rather than just a list-ticker.
Or put another way, “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain