Everything important happens in the pause.
Understand that the pause is the between space where an idea is shared, and that idea is understood.
I just finished doing 6 weeks of speaking – my first-ever “high season” of doing a bunch of paid keynote speeches back-to-back. At these many venues, I watched the other speakers: their ideas, their stories, their bookends and techniques to see what they are accomplishing with the audiences. And what I saw didn’t surprise me. It did, however, horrify me. Most – if not all – speakers show up to show you how smart they are. They dazzle with facts, busy PowerPoint slides with lots of bullet points, and well-done videos to show case their own ideas (never anyone else’s). All of this is meant to impress.
But the one thing none of them do is pause. They barely breathe, let alone allow you have an idea of your own. The reason they don’t pause? Because then they are wasting the valuable 60 minutes they have to show you how smart they are (so you can then hire them for consulting).
Let me just say what complete bullshit that is.
If there is no pause, there is no learning. The speaker who is doing the dazzle doesn’t give a shit if you get anything from their talk other than to confirm their authority. It’s like the partner who, in bed, doesn’t care about your experience of it. It’s all about them.
This applies to all areas of life. The pause is where an idea becomes shared.
As a co-creator of ideas (my definition of what the 21st century work is…), we each gotta get good at the pause. The story is in the pause. There’s what you think or I think, and then there’s when we understand… until we allow the pause, we never even allow that moment to happen.
The world is changing faster. “Gravity” has changed. “Environment” has changed. “Competition” has changed. Having more facts or dazzle will not help someone to go back to work that much more ready for the world we live in.
I know I’m not an “easy” or “funny” speaker. Those who love my style and ideas say I’m an “inspiring” speaker. Those that don’t like me as much call me a “transformational” speaker. Same difference. I am only interested in being of service to that audience in that moment so I frame what is going on in such a way they are better enabled to win. I am asking — sometimes challenging — the audience to re*imagine either the basis of market power, or their own sense of power, or what it looks like to share power within the walls of their enterprise. So that they can be prepared for the world in which we now operate.
There are no absolute answers to win in this changing terrain. So, we need to think, and re*imagine, and actually process the ideas we get exposed to. We each have to have our own thoughts, our own insights. This is how we will be ready for what is next. My job as a world-class speaker is to allow a pause to do that. Your job in whatever you do is to do the same.