One of the best tips I ever received from a University advisor was: Don’t answer thesis defense questions so quickly.
“Take a moment before you respond even if you’re sure about the answer. Then, when you do get stuck, it will just look like you are calmly reflecting on your answer.”
Hmm. That made a lot of sense.
And it worked!
I could pause. Breathe. Think. Answer calmly.
It’s a great strategy to apply to presentations, meetings, and interviews.
Just observe how great speakers pause, look down, look around, take a moment or how good meeting leaders remain calm and allow the silences so that ideas can flow.
(It also lets you find that next sentence or idea, and if your first language is not English, that creative synonym!)
Pause briefly, breathe, think, continue calmly.
Do you know what happens when you do?
It creates suspense, and keeps listeners “on their toes”.
It allows listeners to absorb what you just said.
It allows listeners to prepare for what comes next.
It makes you a better STORYTELLER.
And it shows people you are CONFIDENT enough to relax into the silence.
So the next chance you get, start practicing that pause, that breath, that thought… and start to make silence your ally.
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