“Let’s pause for a second.”
That is possibly the best advice you can give yourself when you are delivering a speech.
Today I got a very good reminder of that.
I was invited to speak for some of the most successful business people in Bangladesh as the guest speaker at an event organised by Standard Chartered Bank.
At the event I had been asked to speak 2 times 1.5 hours.
First session on Business Creativity
Second session on Global mindset and the Developing world.
During the first session I paused and invited the audience into the speech. It worked, and the audience was engaged, inspired and involved. In fact, it worked so well that when it was time for a break I still had a series of stories that I had not had time to deliver (pausing to let the audience into your speech takes “away” time from your speech.)
After the break I decided to try to “make up time” by cramming more content into the allotted time slot. It did not work as well as the first session.
You would think that the audience would get more out of a session that has more content – but it doesn’t work that way.
Adding more words into specific time period doesn’t add value. It just adds stress.
The great Mark Twain said it best:
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
(See how I created some space in the text to make you pause 😉
Lesson: When you feel that you are loosing the audience it’s sometimes tempting to increase your speaking pace, as if “more words” would work like “more bullets” and blasting the audience with words would somehow make it easier to get your message across.
Instead, pause. Reconnect with the audience. Give them a chance to feel where you are in your line of thought. It is not the speaker with the most words who wins. It’s the speaker who best gets his (or hers) message across.