Explore the power of pauses in your speeches and presentations

Motto of the day

The topic of the day:
About the power of pauses in speeches and presentations


Today I share with you:

Enjoy pauses as a speaker

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

Mark Twain

Pauses in speeches and presentations


A pause, if used correctly, can add a great deal to your speech. Powerful and persuasive presenters recognize the importance of the pause. Taking a pause during a speech will create a moment, drive home a message and connect with an audience.

Your message is not simply conveyed by your words, but also by your pauses. In speaking, the drama and power of the speech are contained in the silences that you create as you move from one element to another. This is a skill that you can learn to master with practice. A pause isn’t a moment of nothing. Used strategically, it is a tool to help you build an intellectual and emotional connection with your audience. When you pause, you give your audience time to process what you have just said.

When most people get up to speak they tend to talk from the moment they are introduced till they sit down. Most speaker ignore that the pauses in their talk can get a lot of attention.




Do it


When you want to really impress your audience use the power of pauses. Next time you’re speaking just take an extra long pause and observe what happens. In case you choose the right moment and your body language is good, there is a high chance that everyone looks up and starts paying more attention to you and your message.




The quote of the day


The quote “No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause”. is from Mark Twain’s Speeches, 1923. Seems he really was interested in the power of pauses because he wrote in Autobiographical dictation, 11 October 1907:

That impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words howsoever felicitous could accomplish it…. For one audience, the pause will be short; for another a little longer; for another a shade longer still; the performer must vary the length of the pause to suit the shades of difference between audiences. … I used to play with the pause as other children play with a toy.


Just ask me personally

Let's get into a conversation. Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. If you are interested in coaching or training, for personal questions about that and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (mail@karstennoack.com), phone +49(0)30 864 213 68 and mobile phone +49(0)1577 704 53 56. You can also use this contact form. Please read the information about the privacy policy.


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A pause isn’t a moment of nothing.
 Well used, it is a tool to help you build an
intellectual and emotional 
connection with your audience.

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: March 1, 2009
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: June 12, 2019
Translation: June 12, 2019
German version: