Posted on

Traffic_Light_RedBobtheBA  here and for the last several weeks I have found myself driving along in my car at about 4PM on Sunday afternoons strolling through my preset radio stations.  Each time I would find the NPR show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (with Peter Sagal and Carl Kassel).  I do not remember making a conscious effort to find a way into my car and tune in at 4PM on Sundays but certainly each time I have, I was pleasantly surprised.  On my last NPR drive I cannot say that I remember who was on the show or even what they were talking about but I do remember a phrase that caught my ear; “in radio, a good pause is used to give the listener time to picture what is being said”.  This certainly made complete sense and I started to give some thought to Business Analysis efforts and the pause-ability that BAs need on the job. 
As Business Analysts, it is in our nature to want to share everything we know.  Often when we do so, we do so at a rapid pace and with a level of thoroughness that can only be described as impressive.  Despite our thoroughness and our ability to disseminate the information quickly there are still those individuals that need to interrupt us and ask questions before we can cover everything.  Why is that?  There are of course several reasons but one possible answer to this is that we did not let them absorb at a rate where they could take in the information in a comfortable fashion.  By comfortable I mean one where they can listen and paint a picture of what they are hearing.  They ask questions because they are trying to connect the dots.  One thing we can do Business Analysts is to develop some pause-ability.  A well-timed pause during a presentation by a Business Analyst can go a long way.  Actually, several well-timed pauses will go a long way but how many, and when?
There are a lot of different ways that a Business Analyst can utilize their pause-ability.  I am a big fan of less is more coupled with the dramatic pause for extra effect.  There are also the open-ended questions in which a natural pause follows.  What about letting people know that you will pause for a few moments to let them think about what you said?  Or let them know you will pause to gather your thoughts?  On the flipside, if you use pauses excessively or without direction (the um, uh, oh, er… pauses) they can impact credibility so they really should be well thought out and purposeful.  So why else would you pause?  How does your pause-ability rate?  What has worked for you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PMBOK, PMI-PBA, PMP, PMI-ACP and CAPM are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.