Focus on the gaps, not just your words

I recently attended a conference where two of the speakers raced through their talk without pausing.

It was so exhausting.

And their ideas seemed less important with the speaker racing through them.

We all crave a START and/or an END:

The human mind responds instinctively to the start or the end of anything so when the gaps are highlighted, you define the end of one section and the start of another. This automatically engages your audience.

There are benefits all round:

  • For the listener: It’s easier to process your ideas and they feel more comfortable asking questions.
  • For the speaker: Gaps give you the space to think clearly — to observe the audience or listen to the other person, to breathe, to be unhurried and genuine.

Public Speaking tip:

Experiment with directing your attention to the gaps. What does that mean?

Music is defined by the spaces between the notes. In the same way, ideas and explanations should be broken into chunks/sections/blocks/pieces/components/chapters/parts…

…and the gaps are the spaces between these parts.

Without the spaces, your ideas sound like a train wreck of jumbled thoughts.

Get comfortable with silence!

Too many business presenters come across as rushed when they speak. So, get comfortable with silence when you speak in public!

Of course, you can go too far. Some politicians have long gaps after every sentence. (They do it to define the sound bites they want the media to repeat, but this needs to be balanced with natural speech to connect with an audience).

So, chunk your explanations. The gaps will help you relax and fully engage your listeners.


If you’d like to develop persuasive speaking skills, consider:

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