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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In my former life I taught lots of people to make presentations. I’ve spent time with some people you might have heard speak. In fact I heard one of my former students on the radio a couple of days ago speaking about his study into the lives and struggles of the children in Canada’s north. He was speaking of the terrible inequities thrust by a dysfunctional system into the lives of thousands of Canadian Inuit children in Nunavut. I hope you’ll be hearing more about this. (If not, check here for the back story)

It was nice to hear those familiar tones. His was an interesting voice marked by his Scottish homeland. He came to work for the Auditor General via an earlier career with the Hudson Bay Company. I first met him in his student days, so I worked with him in much of his early course-work learning to be an auditor for the government of Canada. Today he is an assistant auditor general and the anchor person introduced him as Assistant Auditor General Ronald Campbell. But I recognized his voice right away. It was still Ronnie!

Ronnie has a passion for the North and for Canada’s indigenous people. But scrappy Scot and ex HBCo guy had lots to learn to get where he is today. And I claim no credit for getting him there at all! I was no Lionel Logue ( of King's Speech repute. But there is one lesson I can be sure I taught to Ronnie as I did to virtually everyone to whom I ever taught the principles of public speaking—one that I did see upheld by that coach of the king in that amazing movie: the power of the pause.

All who speak publicly want to do well, to fill the air with wonderful, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, delightful speech. And all of us tend to fill the gaps in our monologue with “ums, ahs, ers, you knows, I thinks” that betray our flaws of rhetoric or logic or just plain nerves in unsettling ways. The best, hardest way to fix that is just to let the pauses in your thinking become a pause in your speaking. Don’t fill the silence at all; just be quiet.

The King learned from his coach that these pauses can have the most dramatic effect. The impact of the pause setting off your well-chosen words can inspire your listeners to gird their loins for war! The old king’s advice to his stammering son to “Just say it!” can be the worst advice. If it isn’t coming out yet—just be quiet and wait.

Have you picked up on my message here friends? It’s that “waiting thing” again. The pause that injects power into the speech, that persuades the waiting listener that you must be in touch with some great inner Force that truly knows. They may even be right.

Here we are in this Lenten season being encouraged, yet again, to just pause. If you’re not sure what’s next, or what you should be doing, or why this or that course of action hasn’t clarified itself yet, then just pause and let that inner Force teach you its wisdom. There will be time.

Posted by Marion

1 comment:

  1. Marion, "Pause" I enjoyed this so much. I felt like I just wanted to eat up you great words of council on public speaking. I have struggled so much with the fear of public speaking, but I have learned on my own, like you said , pause, instead of trying to fill in the space with, ah, etc.
    You are a gem to us.


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