Is silence always golden?
What about an awkward silence, for instance?
Those of you on-air have certain opinions (and fears!) to be sure of what silence means and I’m curious to learn about how this translates to audio in general.
If you’ve found a way to use silence to your advantage, I’d love to hear from you!
Join the conversation in today’s VOX Daily!
TIME Magazine published an article in December 2010 entitled Awkward Silences: 4 Seconds Is All It Takes To Feel Rejected. The piece came to my attention a few weeks ago during a talk I heard and got me thinking about how this concept may apply to the audio community in a special way.
The gist of the article was that a period of silence 4 seconds or longer creates major discomfort in someone awaiting a response or reaction. This can even result in a sense of rejection should an answer not be given right away or an uncomfortable silence not be broken.
While this observation pertains to in-person conversations, might prolonged silences create negative reactions in an audience where audio is concerned?
Turning Silence On Its Head
There are a few ways to look at this. Silence can be perceived as either friend or foe depending on its application and use of timing. In comedy, silence can actually be very effective.
If there is silence on the air waves in a live radio broadcast however, silence can be costly in terms of lost listeners, dead air time and so on. Many radio pros have reoccurring dreams (or nightmares) about dead air time…even after they’ve retired!
All of this said, silence can also be used strategically and work to your advantage.
What Do You Think?
Do you use silence in audio recordings, and if so, how do you apply silence strategically? On the flip side, how tightly does one need to edit a recording to avoid the listener feeling uneasy?