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Creative tools > Pause

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it when ideas are fading.

Pause when you are talking and have said something significant.

Use it when a good stimulus is proposed.

Use it to help change direction.

Use it to think for a moment before making important decisions.



X          Long



        X  Psychological



      X    Group


How to use it

Spot the moment

When things are beginning to fade, when people are beginning to slow down, a short pause may be useful.

When a good idea is proposed (including your own), you can also insert a pause to let it sink in (rather than sink without a trace).

Another use is when a decision is being made and criteria have been discussed, to let people reflect for a minute on potential consequences.

Suspend things for a moment

Just stop things for a moment. Ask people to pause and think. Just stop when you are talking. You can also cue others to think by deliberately saying 'Hmm' and stroking your chin or scratching your head.

You can also take a longer pause -- even up to a few minutes, where you ask people to just sit and think.

You can do this by yourself too. Every now and again, just pause to let things sink in and new ideas bubble to the surface.


I am working with a group on a creative problem when a quiet person who often gets ignored makes a suggestion. I say ' Jennie has offered an interesting thought here. Can we stop just for a few moments to think about it?'

How it works

In the flow of a creative session, ideas may be appearing thick and fast. This is often a good thing, as thinking about ideas can lead to them being blocked or rejected. However, it is also easy for something significant to be missed that could lead on to other, even better ideas.

Nature abhors a vacuum and, when faced with silence, your mind will desperately think of things to try and fill it. This creative tension in itself can thus be an effective stimulus.

See also

Incubation, Take a break


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