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One Powerful Way to Add Traction to your Message

by | Mar 13, 2023 | 6 comments

Mickey Raphael*, Willie Nelson’s harmonica player in 7000 performances, says, “Miles (Davis) taught me, ‘Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space between the notes.’”

When you want your listeners to really hear you: Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space [pauses] between your content.

Why use pauses?

  • Pauses enhance your vocal variety.
  • Pauses keep your audience attentive.
  • Pauses act as verbal commas, semi-colons and periods.

So why don’t you pause more often?

  • When you get nervous you speed up – the exact opposite intention!
  • You can’t stand white space!
  • Time distortion: You think you’ve paused for an eternity but it’s been only 1 nano-second.

How do you master the art of the pause?

  • Use a pause to transition from one idea to the next. (Your most logical pause strategy.)
  • Insert a “pause” into your material when you want to create drama. (Write it into your outline & internally count “1001, 1002, 1003 – maybe even longer.”)
  • Add pauses when sharing a story. (Especially if you act out some dialogue.)

Pausing is one of the most powerful tools you have when you speak. I urge you to find “The Space Between Your Notes”.

*PS: Personal trivia – Mickey Raphael grew up in my home town, Dallas, and my parents enjoyed a great friendship with Thelma and Arno, Mickey’s parents!

#KarenCortellReisman   #Communication   #SpeakForYourself   #MickeyRaphael   #PowerOfThePause


  1. Kay Hickey

    Good stuff, as usual!

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      [pause] … Thank you Kay!

  2. Laurie Gabriel

    Never thought about applying what I use in my singing technique to my speaking!

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Laurie – You are correct! I love when you already have a skill set that applies to another area of your professional life. Yes – the pausing you do when singing is critical for your singing technique. The same rationale applies to speaking. Thanks, Karen

  3. Stevelpaso

    Hi Karen……just testing my pause techniques…..You always give wonderful advise that has helped me over the years…..Have a nice day!

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Hey Steve – Now THAT’S pause for thought. …. Thank you for your feedback about this blog on pausing and past blogs as well.

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