Taking pauses in cluttering

Many cluttering speakers take pauses the wrong way: too few or too many, too short or too long, or at illogical points in a sentence. This negatively affects their ability of bringing across their message. Taking pauses the right way is therefore essential for good communication with others; on the one hand for people who clutter themselves to organize their thoughts, and on the other hand for their listeners to be able to “process” the message. That is why there are norms for taking pauses.

Norms for taking pauses

A normal pause lasts between 0.5 and 1.0 seconds and should be completely quiet. No sound can occur during a pause, not even an inhale. There are special programs for measuring pauses and the pace of your speech, such as Goldwave and Praat; they allow you to easily import a recording. The length of your pauses will appear on the screen automatically if you select the horizontal striped bars on the screen. They indicate that there is no audible sound. Select five pauses from the recording, then calculate the average duration to get a clearer picture of the way you take your pauses. 

See the video on this page to learn more on how to measure pauses. Or have a look at the coaching we offer.

‘I never used to know that taking longer pauses could help me in getting my speech rate under control. I always tried to lower my speech rate by just talking slower. That worked, too, but, being a phonological clutterer, taking pauses has a better effect on my speech. And I think it’s easier to use’.