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Silence really is golden

In the world of public speaking and presenting, there's a hack that will make your message land more. Silences - yes, that's right. Use them correctly and your speech will have the edge over the others.

Golden silences and micro-pauses are the secret sauce to many good presentations and public speeches. Although it is very easy to simply want to get the message out there, by deliberating including 3-second micro-pauses in your speech, or 5-second golden silences, your message will land better with the audience.

Why are silences helpful in speech?

Firstly, the brain processes speech at a much slower pace than writing - with speech, we have no time to pause over a word, look up from our page, look back down and continue reading. Everything happens in real-time and there is no chance to have a mental pause. By having a few clear pauses or silences in your speech, you allow your audience to catch up and absorb/digest the information, like they would with reading.

Secondly, by incorporating golden silences (the longer pauses) in your speech, you will add further impact. This is especially the case when used after a powerful statement or statistic. So let the point you want to make really sink into the audience, before you carry on.

Thirdly, micro-pauses and golden silences will help you keep pace when speaking. And when you keep pace, you will naturally create a rhythm that will ensure your audience can keep up.

So how do you do this?

It's not easy to incorporate golden silences into your speech, so you need to plan ahead and make a conscious decision to include them. Think about any impactful stats, messages or stories in your speech and mark these on your notes with a double // that will serve as a deliberate reminder to stop and pause. For smaller, micro-pauses, mark these with a / . Both of these will help you keep pace.

Who knew silence could be so powerful?

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