It affects IF or HOW people listen to you.
Pace, what do I mean by that?
It’s about your rate and your speed of delivery. So many clients of mine race through their content, their ideas, their input and, the truth is, a lot of the time they’ll be tuned out by those who they need to listen to them most.
People lose interests, they can’t process the information quickly enough so lose your thread, they aren’t given enough time or interest to stay tuned in. It makes a big difference to if or how people listen to you if you take the time – choose to take the time – to vary your pace. Your speed. Your way of delivery.
Now when I’m speaking on stage, on group client calls, I’m very conscious of pacing myself, and in pace also comes your speed of response. Your speed of speaking, your speed of action, and deciding on a non-action. Just as well as how and if you decide to speak or respond.
Here are 5 quick and dirty scenarios and tips to help you pace yourself day-to-day both at work and at home:
1. When you’re asked a question, wherever you are, take a moment. Draw breath. Don’t just respond as if you’ve had a tennis ball fired at you. Choose what you’ll say. Buy time with “hmm, that’s a great question, in my opinion …” or “tell me more about what you want to know”. Pacing the other person at the same time. Aha!
2. When you’re telling a story, wherever you are. Pause, speed up with detail and then slow down with the point, the lesson. It adds impact and it gives you a chance to catch up with yourself.
3. When you’re on a conference call. Know the organiser’s name and use it as you jump in. “John, that’s a great point” not just “err can I just say something?”. Even better, “Hi there John, this is Kay White from London, this is how I think we should go” etc.
4. From the stage/a presentation. When you’re introduced, take a moment. 2 or 3 seconds to steady yourself, look at people, give them a sign which says, “I’ll start when I’m ready” and it’s amazing the difference it makes. An experienced musician, a pianist for example, sits, looks at the keys, moves on the seat, takes a breath, then starts. Not leaping on stage and starting straight away. The moment needs build up and the pianist knows the audience needs to settle too.
5. When you’re running a meeting. Rather than feel you have to know everything, ask questions around the table, use people’s names to hook attention and to keep people on track “with 10 minutes left, let’s move on to X” – pacing yourself and your colleagues at the same time.
There are a myriad of other scenarios and tactics you can use. You get the idea though.
Pacing yourself, slowing it down, positioning and settling yourself before you dive in with your thoughts is strategic. It gets and keeps attention and it helps you be more present to what’s actually happening. Now that really is strategic.