Pause Suggests Cain not Able

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Nov 16
Herman Cain's public speaking

Herman Cain speech

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel might not be the first place you’d go when hunting down the country’s biggest breaking story. But staff at the Sentinel knew they had a story 10 seconds after they asked Republican Presidential candidate Hermain Cain an innocuous question about Libya.

Now, they knew that Mr Cain wasn’t too secure with foreign policy questions, but Libya remains current and is still newsworthy.

But the question threw the Presidential hopeful. It took more than ten seconds to get anything resembling a half-decent answer from the candidate. That’s a long time when you are answering journalists’ quick-fire questions.

And it’s a long time if you are looking to become the next President of the USA. His little lapse is bound to raise questions about his ability to be President. Is he truly able?

Mr Cain defended himself later, noting that, “it was a pause.” He’s well-schooled in rhetoric and the art of presentation; it was a pause.

But not as we know it. One of England’s pre-eminent actors, Sir Ralph Richardson, noted that…

The most precious things in speech are the pauses.

But answering questions is subtly different to public speaking where the pause is an essential public speaking technique. We hope that Mr Cain can recover from this lapse…not least because he manages to invigorate the contest that’s got many, erm, um, months to go.



About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+