20 of the finest paws I've had the pleasure of meeting. 4 Labrador Retriever siblings and their Mom gathered to celebrate Labor Day in Carmel Valley. (Owners Brooke Osborne and Corrin Beaumont are their talented trainers.)
While most of you are focusing on the words or the performers (I mean Politicians) who give those political speeches at first one and then the other convention, I have been focused on the moments of silence.
That's right. I have been noticing those times during the speeches when the speaker pauses. Take Sarah Palin's speech tonight, for example. She effectively used the pauses to allow her audience time to respond to her words. The delegates were able to build up excitement and energy at each pause. That's also when her spoken words had time to actually reach the brains of her listeners.
When I took stand-up comedy training, I had a really hard time with those pauses. We would practice our routine every Monday for six weeks and each of us in the class would nervously try to talk over the pause - which meant our audience didn't have a chance to laugh at our material. (It couldn't have possibly been the fact that my nerdy material wasn't all that funny.) The instructor, Jeff Justice, would display every ounce of good humor he could muster week after week as he tried to convince us to embrace the pause.
He taught us that we had to get comfortable with the pause if we were ever going to hear the magic sound of laughter. It seems it takes time for humor to work its way to the funny bone. All of the good comedians know this.
Good speakers know it too. Obama knows how to work the pause, as does Hillary. Bill Clinton and Jessie Jackson are master orators and know how to squeeze the last ounce of enthusiasm out of every single pause.
The first time I stopped to take a breath and just stood there - it happened. Someone laughed. It felt wonderful.
It's not easy to stand there without talking, but with practice, you too can learn to embrace the pause so that you can hear the adoring cheers of your fan club.