As I mentioned in the first article in this series, there’s a lot of power in a well-placed pause. Here are some of the benefits of good pausing:
(1) It helps with clarity.
Well-timed pauses help with the overall clarity of your sermon by giving the audience time to take in information and process it. A speaker who moves too quickly from point to point without giving enough time for contemplation runs the risk of confusing people in the end. Most statements made in a sermon are built upon previous statements. So if people are confused about a statement that is made, chances are that anything that comes after will be just as confusing. Give the audience a few seconds to process important information that needs to be understood well before proceeding.
(2) It allows for self-reflection.
A good pause gives people time and space to reflect on themselves in relation to what you’re saying. This is most evident when asking questions to your audience. Of course, you’re not expecting people to shout a reply from the stands but you would like them to think about those questions. So when asking, give the audience a few seconds after each question or after a series of questions that are similar in nature for some self-reflection.
(3) It adds emphasis.
One of the natural things that a good pause does is grab people’s attention. Because people naturally expect you to say something on stage, silence becomes a powerful gesture. Saying nothing on stage actually says something to people—it tells them to pay attention to what you’re about to say next. A well-placed pause can help grab attention so that you can emphasize an important point that you want the audience to remember.
(4) It makes a story interesting.
Pausing is a useful element in storytelling. Use the pause to grab the audience’s attention before you resolve the conflict of your story. This will move the audience to the edge of their seats, almost begging for you to give the resolution. That should make the story a bit more interesting. Of course, don’t forget to end the story with the point that you’re trying to get across.
Join the Discussion: What are other benefits of a well-placed pause?
Series: Pausing Power