The Power Of the Pause

The Power Of the Pause

by Tracy Johnson

Broadcasters seem to have an innate fear of silence. We dread “dead air” and rush to fill each millisecond with something – anything. But doing so eliminates one of the most powerful tools of effective communication: silence

The Power of the Pause is evident in great performances. A brief moment of silence creates anticipation, adding to the suspense, and signally something important is about to happen.

Entertainers Penn and Teller refer to it as The Silence Gap. They understand how to use silence as a communication weapon that applies to the stage, screen, interviews, and radio shows.

A Brilliant Example of The Power Of The Pause

Former Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully is the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time. Vin earned that recognition by adding to the listener/viewer experience by pouring his personality into the event he was describing.

Scully described Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, the blast that made him baseball’s home run king. Here’s how it sounded:

You might also like:  The Rule Of 3

In an interview with another broadcast legend, Ross Porter, Scully talked about using silence to capture the magnitude of that moment.

Note: the whole interview is great. Listen if you have time. But if not, advance to the 17:22 mark to hear Scully talk about using silence to create impact in one of the most memorable moments in broadcast history:


Whether on a team show or a solo show, learn to embrace the Power of the Pause. This should be a deliberate, conscious focal point.

Sure, it’ll take some coordination and trust between cast members. Use hand signals to let cohosts know the pause is for effect and to not rush in. Some solo personalities even edit pauses into recorded segments or phone calls to add suspense.

The point is, silence is a tremendous tool to place greater emphasis on what is about to be said. Experiment with it to enhance storytelling skills until it becomes natural. Then keep working on it to master this technique.

You might also like:  How Important Is Being Local?

Thanks to Benztown President/CEO Dave “Chachi” Denes for sending the interview with Scully.

Why The Pause Is So Powerful

Improve Interviews By Using The Silence Gap

Tools For A Performer’s Vocal Tool Kit

Opt In Image
The World's Premiere Talent Coach!
Available Now In Markets Worldwide

Every performer needs a coach. That's where we come in.

The difference between good and great is personalities that relate to listeners.

Wanna win? So do we. We develop on-air superstars, and are ready to make you our next success story.


Fill Your Phone Lines eBook
Webinar, $19.00

Listeners don't all as much as they used to. So do something about it! Get more callers and better callers by inspiring listeners to take action. This guide will teach you how to fill your phone lines within 30 days.

The New Insiders Radio Network

Is This Really Radio's Most Valuable Resource For Personalities Programmers and Promotion Managers?