Saturday, November 14, 1998 at 10:54:14
I have been doing more public speaking recently, I think that the pause is a dramatic choice, adding emphasis to the line before or after it. I was just watching Fripp (a damn good public speaker) as she taught us the tricks of the trade she described one of her favorite moves as she was in the flow... "...and (two steps for worward in silence. Only do this once in a presentation or it looks contrived)... move into your main thought..." I also find that in normal conversation you can use the "pregnant pause" to hold the floor while you are actually silent...this will keep others from butting in without going to umms.
I am curious to know more about the professional speaker you refer to as "Fripp". I do not know who she is and wonder if you could provide some more details? What is her full name and affiliation? Is she a public speaking trainer? What are her basic theories on public speaking?
As for the pregnant pause, what specific observations do you have about them? Upon reflection, it seems to me that when a 'pregnant pause' occurs in spontaneous speech (as opposed to rehearsed or planned speech) the intonation just before the pause is rising, and in the speaker's mind the words following the pause, already processed, merely await utterance. This differs from the most commonly accepted cognitive function of FPs which is to stall for processing time. Furthermore, it might be argued that what holds the floor is not the pause itself, but rather the rising intonation preceding the pause, since that is highly indicative of a speaker's intention to continue.
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