Guest Post: When Silence is Not Always Golden

As a former TV anchor, the one thing you dread is dead air… a too long gap of silence.

Yet as a humanist business owner, I created some serious dead air as a guest on a business radio show.

I didn't intentionally make it happen. But sometimes your beliefs (or lack thereof) get the best of you.

Now I realized the show I was going on was hosted by a Christian business owner. I wasn't sure if she knew my beliefs, as it was never discussed, but since the topic was marketing—not religion—I wasn't worried.

The interview went well. Then an open discussion followed for business owners who call in. As a PR pro, I had listened in previously, and knew these discussions focused on the topic of the interview.

Many people asked questions about getting publicity, which I happily answered:

“How can someone get the media to pay attention to an event?”
“Should I send out my press release via email as an attachment?”
“What should I include in a press kit?”

“Did you hear about this anti-Christian kids’ movie, called The Golden Compass? We need to get some PR and protest this.”

It was like a record player needle had scraped across a great tune.

My head was reeling. My heart was pounding.

How was I going to answer this?

I took a breath. “Well, the movie is based on a trilogy of books. It’s a wonderful series about a girl who saves the world she lives in by denying the love she wants. It’s not anti-Christian at all. As a matter of fact, one of my twin daughters, Lyra, is named after the heroine.”

And you can imagine the silence, the dead air… which felt like an eternity.

My instincts as a journalist kicked in and decided the fill the void: “One of the basic rules to get publicity is to make sure you have all the facts, and understand the background before you jump in with a campaign. That way you are well aware of what you are trying to accomplish PR-wise.”

And then… more dead air.

At this point, I realized it didn't matter how I tried to explain. My beliefs (and naming a child after Philip Pullman’s nonreligious heroine) were all they needed to hear.

It was a tough lesson for me.  I had never before thought belief played a role in business.  It shouldn't, but it does.

So it left me with a decision about sharing my own beliefs as part of my business.  Upon reflection, I realized Humanism is basic business sense. I don’t need to broadcast my beliefs, or even bash others because my beliefs are exactly what business should be based on: doing good, no matter what.

Shannon Cherry, a business and marketing pro with more than two decades of experience, helps you to make more money in your business without adding more time.

She founded her business,, in 2002 to help experienced and ambitious entrepreneurs grow the business they desire– without compromising on their principles. Her focus is to provide laser-targeted solutions to get fast results.

Shannon’s business has been debt-free since its inception and she consistently works only 15 hours per week to spend more time with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Get her free training Ready, Set, Publicity which helps you create a year-long publicity plan at

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