Pausing is typically the most under-utilised tool that a presenter has.
Most people who use the phone to conduct business only concern themselves with their message. For example, they want to explain a product, fix your software or update you on month-end results. They forget that how you say it matters.
When a voice "sounds" great, the presenter is pausing a lot. If you aren't pausing, here are the risks you take:
People will ask you to repeat
While you may want to move forward with your explanation, the person on the other end may interrupt you constantly to say "I didn't get that. Can you say it again?" It will derail even the most confident speaker.
Articulation will be affected
When you are not pausing enough, the lips, teeth and tongue aren't in the right position to say the words correctly. People may not understand you, particularly if English is their second language and if they can't see your facial expression. It is never a good thing if people mistakenly think you have said something other than what was intended.
Your ideas will not stand out
Without pausing, thoughts blend together. Nothing seems important. Your great idea or solution will be overlooked, leaving you feeling defeated and perhaps, costing your company to lose money or miss an opportunity.
People will respond incorrectly
When you ask a direct question, an individual who didn't hear all of what you said because your voice faded will respond the wrong way. If they are a subordinate, it will be embarrassing to them.
An accent won't be understood
Some native languages, such as Spanish, are spoken at a much faster pace. However, if you have an accent, it will be difficult for others to grasp your meaning. Articulation will be affected, and words will not be said the way listeners learned them.
You will be perceived as lacking confidence
Inevitably, filler or non-words appear when a speaker is not pausing at the end of sentences or thoughts. When there are a lot of "ums and ahs," the presenter will seem hesitant or unsure. People expect to talk to a subject matter expert. They do not want to waste their time with someone who doesn't seem to be confident.
People will be confused
Pausing helps people to decide the right "bucket" in which to place your information. It helps them to follow your argument. If a presenter moves too quickly from point to point, listeners will be confused. Remember, a confused mind always says "NO."
Listeners will become annoyed
They may feel you only want to get them off the phone and be done with them. They may ask to speak to someone other than you.
Pausing is a lifeline for your listeners. It is also a lifeline for you. It will help you to be more successful. When we really want someone to get it, we speak slowly. "I am lost. PAUSE. Where is the airport?"
Help your listeners to get what you are saying by pausing often.
A good portion of anyone business person’s day is spent on the telephone.
Everyone desires to make a good impression, but it's the first few words out of your mouth that determine whether people will perceive you in a positive or negative manner or whether they will trust and believe you. In fact, studies confirm that your impact over the phone is established within four-seven seconds (4-7 sec) through the tone of your voice.
If you capture your listener during your first few words, it was undoubtedly because you sounded friendly, sincere, passionate or interested.
If you made a bad impression, it was probably because your voice sounded flat or lifeless. Sometimes, after making or taking call after call, your voice becomes a monotone. When listeners hear this lack of energy, they often question why they should be excited by your idea or motivated to take action.
Many people speak too quickly at the best of times. What’s worse is speaking too fast over the phone because it is very difficult for listeners to keep up, process information or take notes. It signals that you just want to get them off the phone or are in a hurry. Some may even feel that you are trying to ‘pull a fast one’ on them.
Your telephone audience can quickly read your voice. If there are noticeable filler words, such as "um"," ah," and "you know”, then listeners question the speaker's competence or knowledge on a particular topic. You generate confusion. A confused mind never says "yes."
It is not so much what you say, but how you say it that makes a difference.
To enhance the tone of your voice, you must master the power of the PAUSE. A one or two second pause at strategic places will allow you to emphasize important points and ensure that your ideas are understood. It will help listeners to hear your sincerity and excitement right from the start of your phone conversation. You will sound like you enjoy what you are doing and increase the likelihood of them wanting to talk to you.
Your tone of voice is critical. A pleasant voice makes people want to do business with you. It creates a connection. Make sure you gain your telephone listeners attention when you say, "Hello”.
People are moved by their heads and their hearts. Data alone will not convince people.
Knowing this, many companies have adapted a storytelling approach when presenting, especially with prospects and clients. A relevant engaging story helps to deepen the human connection and increase the likelihood of ideas being remembered. Stories also distinguish you as a presenter.
If you would like for your presentations to ‘stand out’, the following story telling checklist will insure your success.
1. Does your story make a single point? Is the point obvious? You should never attempt to re-explain your story.
2. Is your story relevant? Have you chosen the right story for the message and person or business you are speaking with?
3. Does the story have an emotional component? Does it grab attention? A boring story interests no one and wastes time.
4. Does your story have a plot with a beginning, middle or end? Is there a clear resolution to a problem?
5. Have you made your characters interesting? Can your audience picture them? Can your audience see how the characters look, what they are doing, or how the characters feel?
6. Do you know where you will use this story in your presentation? For example, will you deliver your story at the start of your presentation to capture the attention of your audience? Or, will you wait till the end to emphasize the ‘key point’ of your solution / offering etc? Wherever you plan to insert your story it must appear seamless.
7. Have rehearsed your story in your head? You might practice your story by telling your spouse or business colleague.
8. Is passion or energy apparent in your body and voice when you tell your story? A poor storyteller will ruin the best tale when not fully engaged with their own story.
9. Tell your story in under 3 minutes? Any more time could mean unnecessary details and rambling.
10. What do you want your listeners to think, feel or remember from your story?
11. What action do you want listeners to take as a result of your story?
12. What questions might your story evoke? Preparing ahead for any tough questions will prevent you from being caught off guard.
Becoming a good storyteller is a tremendous way to make a salient point. It builds trust and enhances the likelihood that your prospect or client will act on your recommendations.
If you have made a check by each of the twelve questions above, you are ready. The more you use this model, the better you will become.
All the best!