Recently I have been afforded a very rare moment, which I am taking and running with. The moment I am referring to as a subtle pause. A chance for me to stop, breathe, reflect, and appreciate this world we live in. You would have to agree that for the past couple of years – I haven’t been stopping to smell the roses, instead zooming around like a modern day Blue-Bottomed fly! So now I am taking a moment, a pause. Which leads me on to this sharing, for any of my colleagues who speak in public, present at conferences, or lead people. Take a pause.
When we speak, present, debating, argue, or just chit chat. The words, their pace, their intensity and their meaning often get swept away by the veracity and volume in which we deliver them. A pause helps us in many ways, from moments to lifetimes, in allowing a sense of calm, a sense of seriousness, a sense of groundless and clarity be appreciated.
As we individually grow as leaders or managers; speakers and teachers; role models and influences – we have a responsibility to ensure that the message we are delivering is understood, is valued, and is interpreted the way we intended. The simple, and yet profound act of inserting a pause at the right moment, affords us more than most appreciate. Whether it be in speaking, or whether it be in life, the simple act of taking a pause allows everyone benefit – both you and those around you.
- They Listen
- When we take a little time to invest in our selves and in our audience, team, staff, family, there is a simple thing that happens – they listen.
- No more Umms
- Inserting a pause when we speak also removes those little idiosyncratic behaviour we all have, those pesky little Ums, AAhh’s, eeerrr’s. You don’t have to fill the gap with a noise – let the silence speak for itself. Owning the moment.
- The pregnant moment
- A pause can be the subtle and controlled way that something big, some news, an announcement – or just simply something important maybe announced. It grabs your audiences attention and keeps them focused on the most important thing in the room – you!
- Let the penny drop!
- Sometimes the pause is after you have announced something, and you want to let it sink in. Allow them some time to gather themselves, and formulate their next steps. That break in conversation, or momentum – affords us a look of thoughtfulness and confidence, and as long as it is done with respect and caution it helps us build our credibility.
Beware: a pause can be too long, and it has been known that people just don’t know where they left off – and never continue that story, that anecdote, that project, or that career. Your pause should be long enough to allow you to achieve. Sometimes a carefully placed second or two can produce profound effects.
Enjoy the vistas I took during my recent pause, highlighting that only can a picture produce a thousand words, a pause can communicate more than the words or actions around it.