The speaker in real-time speaking needs to use cues, or signals, to help the listener process what the speaker is saying. One such cue is the pause.

Cues or signals are significant


How long did it take you to comprehend the above three sentences? All of the words are there. However, there are few visual cues telling you where one word ends and another begins. No spaces. No capital letters. There are punctuation cues, such as the question mark and period. This helps a little. But still, you, the reader, need to spend extra effort sorting out what goes with what.

What is a sentence? It’s a string of words. These words help construct meaning.

Like with writing, the speaker in real-time speaking needs to use cues, or signals, to help the listener process the speaker’s intended meaning. Unlike with writing, speaking is quicker and immediate. It’s real-time. Instead of the visual spaces or capital letters, the speaker uses other cues. One such cue is the pause.

Strategic pausing

Consider strategic pausing. A break in speaking is used for a specific objective or meaning. Look at and listen to the following two samples. In each, I have identified the pause with a symbol.

Sample 1:

Now it’s time for me to pause.  #  To direct your attention to the third part of this six-part series about Clear Speaking Awareness.

Here, the speaker is simply stating the information, it’s time to direct your attention to x.

Sample 2:

Now   it’s time for me to pause.  #   To direct your attention to the   #   third part   of this six-part series   about Clear Speaking Awareness.

Here, the speaker purposely directs your ear to highlight the following information:

  • This is a new topic—I will now pause and direct your attention
  • This is the third part
  • This is a series about clear speaking awareness

Watch this video 

Pay attention to how this presenter, Douglas Jefferys, uses the pause. Is he strategic?  How does he help you in processing his meaning?

Other model presenters?

Are there any public speakers you especially like? A speaker who pauses strategically, or demonstrates primary interest in communicating with the audience? He or she clearly cares that the audience understands the message or information. Such a speaker may be a professional speaker, a speaker from, a professor, a movie character, a famous leader, etc. If so, please click on the Leave a comment button below and share.

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