Most people are afraid of silence. That’s why they fill in the gaps with ums and errs, desperate not to be seen as unsure. And in the process… they seem unsure.
Silence is a powerful thing, as Obama demonstrates so well here. He’s totally conversational, appearing to consider what he is saying as he says it. But as we all know, he has carefully planned it for effect. Obama speaks very naturally. That’s the art. Compare that with George W Bush, who always sounded as if his handlers were telling him what to say, three words at a time in his earpiece.
When you pause, it makes you look thoughtful and gives you gravitas. And what’s more, it gives the listener time to consider what you have said, as well as making them wonder what’s coming next.
But Obama doesn’t just pause. He varies his speech, to make it faster, to give it more emphasis and drive. And then he uses the element of surprise. I won’t spoil it for you. Watch the video!