know more about the audience before
he speaks to them.
A live Studio Audience
Practicing stories in front of her friends
helped Emily Ballance, CSP, MEd,
become much more animated by bringing her lightheartedness to the stage.
She learned to
practice in front
of a mirror so
that she could
deal with the
aspects of her
stories without becoming overly emo-
tional. She uses positive humor, practi-
cal information and dry wit that
appeals to diverse audiences.
Early in her career, she was sometimes the one who cried on stage, and
that was too much. She wanted to draw
emotion, but not lose her own composure. Yet, Ballance also has a lot of
humor in her presentations, and she
makes it a point to watch Comedy Central as a learning tool. Watching the
actors on Comedy Central do their
work, she notes their styles and studies
their stage skills.
Ballance rehearses her presentations
while she’s by herself in the car—and
not just on her way to the presenta-
tion, but any time she’s alone in her
car. In addition, she records herself
and listens for words that don’t go
together, or words that don’t sound
right when she pronounces them,
and reworks them.
Scharenbroich said that for the first
10 years of his speaking career he prac-
ticed in front of mirrors and reviewed
videos of his previous presentations.
Now he knows how he wants to get his
main ideas across, and knows his stories
so well that he decides in the moment
in front of an audience how he will
transition from one story to the next.
As for me, I’m not the mirror kind. I
walk and talk my presentations through
in my great room. Because my pro-
grams sometime contain state and fed-
eral compliance citations, I’ll practice
timing using PowerPoint®, rehearsing
my stories and using all parts of the
stage. My audience, Max and Kamille,
patiently listen to every word. (And
they’ll wag their tails—a sure sign I’m
on the right track.)
With rehearsal tips from so many
accomplished speakers, I hope you’re
on the right track, too.
Stephanie Angelo devoted the last 16 years
as a subject matter expert in domestic
violence’s effects on the workplace. She
is also a Mastermind group facilitator; like
an architect for business, she helps entrepreneurs and solopreneurs grow and build
their own enterprises. See what’s up at
emily ballance, csP, med, rehearses her presentation
while she’s by herself in the car—and not just
on the way to the presentation, but any time
she’s alone in her car.
1Sense A “sense” pause is like a comma in writing, but it’s used twice as much.
2transition The “transition” pause is like a period in writing. It separates one
thought from another.
3emphasis Different from the “transition” pause, the “emphasis” pause separates one
key point from another. It can change rhythm
and speech patterns for added variety.
4reflective This pause gives your listeners a moment to think about what you’ve just
said and process their thoughts. You may wish
to allow more time than with “sense” and
5Sensory The “sensory” pause allows your audience to feel a sensation you’ve
described, or to picture a scene, such as, “The
air was so icy cold as it whipped his face, he
felt the burn in his eyes.”
6Spontaneous Pausing spontaneously will change up the way your words are
delivered. It’s helpful if you give the same
speech over and over.
7Dramatic With a “dramatic” pause, you can build anticipation for what
you’ll say next. When audience members
anxiously anticipate your next words, they
become spellbound by your story. This pause
may last a few seconds.
8effect The “effect” pause is intended to build anticipation, but it’s only lasts
a second or two.
9give up Control This is useful in trainings or
Q &A. Answer an attendee’s
question and then stop.
Let the audience take over
and start a discussion.
of the PauSe
here are nine ways to pause and make
your presentation more effective.