While too long of a pause on Zoom feels really awkward, not pausing enough in the right places will leave your students feeling silenced. This in part is due to lag, where what you say takes a little bit to reach your students, and what they say takes a little bit to reach you. Usually this flows quite well, but one spot that it does not is when you ask your students a question.
Especially the question, “Does anyone have questions?”
Think about it from the student’s side. When they hear this, they have to decide IF they have a questions, WHAT that question is, and then they have to ASK it. In an in-person classroom, we have more visual feedback from body language if a student is getting ready to ask something. On Zoom, this is not always so easy to read.
I was coached that when you ask this question, count to 10 silently in your head. Sometimes 10 is a bit long, but you get the idea. You need to create a space for the questions to come. Far too often, I’ve had instructors on Zoom wait maybe 2 seconds, then “Well, if not, then we carry on,” while you were just forming the question in your mind! After a while of this type of treatment, students will stop asking questions at all.
Think of it as the pregnant pause after a question. Practice this, and see how it gets easier over time, as well as how students respond to the space for allowing their questions to arise.