How pauses can boost performance in media interviews

These five tips can help you think before you speak and avoid that ‘gulp!’ moment when a journalist catches you with an aggressive question.

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That wisdom applies not just to music, but also to media interviews.

Pauses offer tremendous benefits for speaker and audience alike, but only a handful of speakers take full advantage of them.

Unfortunately, our culture tends to stigmatize pauses, viewing silences as “dead air” that can lead people to wonder whether we’re a bit dimwitted.

For recorded formats—print interviews and edited radio and television interviews—your pause usually won’t be used or mentioned in the story. (I’ve noted a few exceptions below.) Even if you think you know the answer to the question right away, pause for the following five reasons:

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