Last week, we discussed the importance of listening. This week we’re going to in depth on one of the best tools for listening better and not overreacting. Before you stick your foot in your mouth at home or at work, learn the power of pause.

If you are too busy to read the rest of this blog right now, don’t worry. You can step away from the computer and essentially pause so that when you are ready, you can fully pay attention to what I’m saying.

Pausing is a little more than taking a time out before saying what you want to say. The power of pause uses a formula of:

Slow + Down + Listen = PAUSE

This gives you a chance to think and digest the situation –  and the other person’s words – during the break.

5 tips to gaining some Pause power

Here are 5 of my best tips for building that habit of pausing.

1. Instead of immediately responding say, “Tell me more.”

2. Listen with every bone in your body, as if what you are hearing is going to change your life.

3. Show you are listening by using positive body language. Nod your head and make good eye contact. Mean it. People know the difference.

4. Reinforce open communication by showing appreciation for the information, the advice, or the direction. Say “thank you.”

5. Don’t be afraid of the silence or rush to fill in. Just be patient and continue the pause. Breathe and wait until you’ve had time to think before you speak.

Think about this: everything in life comes down to the power of choice. Thus, you can choose the power of the pause. You’ll see a remarkable difference in how you communicate and connect with others. I know I have.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in improving interpersonal communication skills, building and leading teams, training supervisors, career coaching, solving human resources issues, and working with different communication styles and generations. 

Photo credit: Shootin’ for Fun