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Moments of silence

When we’re about to give a talk we’re mostly concerned about the words we’re going to say. We’re not so used to think about the space in between the words, the silence. But it’s useful in many places, for example

… before you start to speak so that the room becomes quiet. You don’t want to talk against a murmur of words. You want the full attention of your audience from the very first word.

… in between two thoughts so that your audience has a chance of digesting the first thought before digging into the next one.

… after an important statement so that your audience can let it sink in and transfer your words into their own situation. That’s what makes your talk concrete for them. The more concrete your talk becomes, the greater the chance that they will find your thoughts valuable.

… at the end of the talk to enjoy the applause.

… in the Q&A session to give yourself enough time to understand the question and come up with a thoughtful response.

… after the talk, back at your desk to reflect on reactions.

Some of these moments will be very brief, some longer. Noticing them is the first step towards being able to control them.

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