What does the Terminator, Albert Einstein and Bar-B-Que have in common? Pauses! Silence during a speech may seem scary at first, but inserting pauses will make your speech more engaging and help you become a better speaker. The Terminator, Albert Einstein and Bar-B-Que pauses will do three things for your next presentation: eliminate filler words, help you gather your thoughts, and help your audience absorb your message.
First, let’s start with the “I’ll be back!,” the Terminator Pause. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the Terminator character iconic with the phase, “I’ll be back!” He could eliminate any target. You too can use the Terminator Pause to eliminate those filler words like ah, um, and so from your speaking. By taking one to two seconds to pause, you use the silence to replace those nasty filler words. Your audience finds these fillers annoying while the short pauses are not. Try using the Terminator Pause and those filler words “won’t be back!”
Next, the Albert Einstein Pause or what I call the thinking person’s pause. Literally! This two to three second pause gives you a moment to gather your thoughts before making your next point. Your audience won’t see your pausing as a bad thing, but will see you as thoughtful and deliberate. And remember, more pausing will terminate those filler words. You will be the smartest person in the room!
Finally, the Bar-B-Que Pause. This is the most powerful, if not the tastiest, of the three pauses. The best Bar-B-Que marinades in a special seasoning or sauce. The meat has time to absorb the zesty flavor that knocks your socks off. The Bar-B-Que Pause does the same thing for your key points. The ideas you want your audience to ponder and relate to their individual circumstances, translate better because of silence. This three to four second pause allows your points to marinate in their minds. M’m! M’m! Good!
You will be a better presenter by using the Terminator, Albert Einstein and Bar-B-Que pauses every time you speak. No more filler words, more time for you to think and for your audience to consider your ideas. Your presentations will be easy to listen to, memorable and engaging. Pause more and you will speak better than your CEO.
Mark A. Skipper is the 2017 Toastmasters District 6 World Champion of Public Speaking and the founder of Speak Better Than Your CEO. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.