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When presenting, don’t forget to…wait for it…pause

Dear Reader,

In the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” one of Barney Stinson’s catch phrases was “…wait for it…”.  He had many uses for it, the most common of course being “Legen..WAIT FOR IT…dary”, but he used it in all sorts of situations where a dramatic pause was called for…at least in his mind. By the end of the show’s run, most viewers were kind of sick of it because he so overused it that it lost all effect. Barney did not master the use of the dramatic pause.

As a speaker, you should master the dramatic pause. Dramatic pauses are a very effective tool for speakers. Regardless whether you are giving a technical presentation, a marketing pitch, or motivational talk, the dramatic pause is your friend.

When to pause

When to use the dramatic pause is as important as how you do it. A great place to pause is right after you have introduced a new idea or concept. Take a pause, let your audience have time to consider what you just said before you launch into to an explanation. Give them time to agree with you, disagree with you, or just let the thought sink in.

How to pause

How you execute a dramatic pause is of course dictated by your personal style. Some simply pause. If like me, you are a wanderer, I use a pause to wander back to the podium, others will take a sip of water. Anything that is not distracting to your audience is fine.

One note, don’t pause too long. It’s fine to pause to let a thought sink in. Don’t pause do long that the thought slips away. Practice will show you how long is long enough.


Dramatic pauses sprinkled throughout your talk will help your audience digest what you are saying. It will give your talk pacing. Mastering the dramatic pause will help you spin…WAIT FOR IT…a good yarn. :)

Until next time
I <3 |<

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