Manner of Speaking

The Fermata

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Seth Godin is the author of several books about “marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect”. They are bestsellers. His blog is one of my favourites and I highly recommend it. This post is part of a series based on original posts by Seth.

In this blog post from 20 November 2012, Seth uses a musical notation, the fermata, to emphasize the importance of pausing when giving a speech or presentation. It is a topic on which I have written several times.

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The Fermata

by Seth Godin

It is a mark from the composer to the conductor: Hold the pause as long as you like.

When we finally have the attention of an audience, our instinct is to rush. Attention is precious, please don’t stare, okay, I’m hurrying, there, I’m done.

It doesn’t have to work that way.

If you’ve got something to say, say it. Slowly. With effect. The audience isn’t going anywhere. At least not the people you care about.

No, don’t waste their time. Yes, handle your message with the respect it deserves.

If you have to rush to say it, it might not be worth saying.

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