One of the best pitches I witnessed was that of great Saatchi creative director, the late Paul Arden. He was presenting a new campaign with a lot at stake. After the strategy had been explained, he rose to speak. Or not. For 60 seconds he stood quietly in silence, as if lost for words. Then a hesitant mutter of ‘this is so uh I’ .. another 60 seconds passed..’It’s so special Iam lost’…another ‘uh’, a seeming eternity of silence.
Finally he spoke. We the home team sighed with relief. The client meanwhile had been brought to an astonishing level of heightened expectation. Calculated or instinctive, (Arden never said) this totally unexpected use of the dramatic or pregnant pause worked its magic. I don’t remember the campaign. 25 years later, I remember the pause.
In her excellent book the Star Qualities, Caroline Goyder explains how “pitches happen in the pause”.
From years of coaching actors, she understands that it is in the pauses that your audience can take time in their minds to assess you, and what you are saying, time to form an opinion- difficult in the face of a torrent of words. It is in the pause that you will be seen as confident, engaged in communicating with, not proclamating at!
Some music lessons. It was Claude Debussy who said: “Music is the space between the notes”. And even better,virtuoso pianist Artur Schnabel: “The notes I handle no better than other pianists. But the pauses between the notes- ah, that is where art resides!”