How To: Use the Power of the Pause to Strengthen Your Telling
By: Chris King
When we are telling stories to a group, especially as a newer storyteller, one of the most difficult techniques to master is the use of the pause. Even in everyday conversation, most people have a problem with silence. Somehow we feel we must always fill a space with words. And yet silence and a pause during the telling of a story not only enhances the audience’s understanding of the story, but it also builds anticipation. In this article, I will discuss the whys and how to use pauses to strengthen your storytelling.
Begin with silence.
It takes “guts” to stand in front of an audience after being introduced without saying something immediately, but this can prove to be one of the strongest ways to get their attention and to create rapport. I suggest that we start our storytelling by standing quietly, making eye contact with audience members, letting them make contact with us, and then once everyone is comfortable and waiting with anticipation, start with a dynamic story. You will be amazed at the level of attention this produces. And, if you choose to start with a story that involves the listeners, you will find that they will be ready to give you their all, because you have already created a bond through your silence.