Public Speaking Techniques – Silence!

Have you ever been overloaded by a speaker?
When you have the feeling of being pounded into the red corner, wishing it would stop?

Tony Blair

Tony Blair
Creative Commons

I have given this feedback to a speaker ( when asked!) while I was still recovering from the emotional bruises around my ears!

Public Speaking is intended to deliver a message:

  • Clearly              Comfortably             Effectively

In your enthusiasm to share your knowledge, it is really easy to overload your audience with information. You can go into geek-speak mode and use technical words and phrases which our audience fail to understand. Mission failure!

How to Speak Effectively.

A key technique is to break your delivery down into bite-size chunks or even the dreaded sound-bites!
Then give the audience time to digest each chunk or bite.

Using an appropriate silence before AND after each bite achieves 2 objectives:

A) Silence before the sound-bite forms a pregnant pause before delivery.
B) Silence after the sound-bite is the digestiv to aid assimilation.

Choose any part of Barack Obama’s speech below and see how he uses Silences very effectively.
See MORE TIPS below

The magic of Silence:

Silence has several brilliant properties in public speaking!

If you are nervous, a silence appears 10 times longer to you than the audience.
Yes, it’s true.
That allows  “extra” time to think and clarify your thoughts.
And to Breathe!

Silence allows you to be brief and effective – so there is LESS to remember.

Effective silences help you appear more authorative.

Silence can really help when you feel nervous – remember the 10x ratio above.

My specialty is helping you to:

1) Improve your personal presence.
2) Be a more effective communicator.
3) Increase your awareness of your emotions and  manage them effectively.
4) Really control your stress levels.
5) Improve your interpersonal skills.


To your success.

Jim J Doyle  Distinguished Toastmaster and Personal Energy Manager
Cambridge, UK