Three tips To A Powerful Presentation: Pausing and Pacing

Three tips To A Powerful Presentation: Pausing and Pacing

Have you ever sat in an audience listening to a presenter race through their presentation, barely coming up for air only to trip and stumble across his or her words? I have come across this all to often and I often think to myself, if only they would slow down and take a break every once in a while. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

Pausing is like feeding a young child. You see, when you’re feeding your young child you can’t race through the procedure but at the same time you can’t go too slow. There’s a balance you must have. At times as well, you need to pause to allow the food to go down.

So, to deliver powerful presentations it’s essential that we know how to pace our selves as well as pause. How? In this article I’m going to highlight 3 key things that will help you with pausing and pacing.

1. Breathing

Before you even begin your presentation practise breathing…correctly. Slow and deep breaths from the diaphragm.  If you often use the top part of your lungs you will be likely to find that you race to the end of your sentences just so that you can take your next breath. Practising correct breathing will help you to slow down your pace.

2. Pronounce the entire word

Often when we speak fast our speech and clarity become lazy and we can leave off word endings. So properly pronouncing the word endings and getting your mouth and lips around then will help you to put the breaks on. Practise reading aloud from a newspaper article and articulating the sound in every word. It might feel strange at first, but it is much easier to listen to someone when you understand the words they are saying.

Presentation Training

3. Know your material

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of being prepared. This doesn’t mean learning your presentation to a point where you don’t need notes. But it means understanding what you’re presenting. When you do you’ll be able to add emphasis to various areas.

One way to add emphasis is to pause – giving your listeners time to respond in their head or to formulate an opinion. It keeps people involved and engaged in what you’re saying.

Pause after a thought provoking question and ‘let the food go down’.  Another benefit of knowing your material is that you will be able to alter your speed. When we talk about something exciting we speed up but when we begin to go into detail we slow down.


Taking time to practise your delivery of your presentation will really help you to present a powerful presentation where listeners will not only listen but engage with you through the journey.


How have you found pausing and varying the pace of your voice to be effective in your presentations?

Alison Owen

Speech Language Therapist
Voice Culture