Sylvia Henderson

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SL Column: Pause

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     The riding-to-resting rule of thumb when motorcycle touring is to pause after an hour of ride time. Road fatigue sets in and unless we pause from the ride, dismount, stretch our legs and get our blood circulating, we lose focus and start drifting off the road. While a dangerous situation in a car, it is more deadly on two wheels.

     The speaking-to-stopping rule of thumb when giving a presentation or simply talking to someone should be to pause after every few minutes of talking. Our listeners suffer word fatigue after so many minutes of one-way communication. They need time to absorb what you say and to let their brains process your message before they can take more in.

     While pausing feels awkward to the speaker, the listener welcomes the silence. Pausing at appropriate times when you speak is also a powerful attention-getter and re-focusing technique. When you pause, [PAUSE HERE], listeners figuratively lean forward in anticipation of what you will say next. The silence also allows people to finish their thoughts when they take notes while you speak.

     Keep your listeners from suffering word fatigue and from tuning you out by … pausing.

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