Pacing – It affects IF or HOW people listen to you.
Pace, what do I mean by that? So many speakers, presenters, team leaders, 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 interest, 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. AND, we also need to make sure we’re saying what we actually want to say rather than thinking about it as we say it!
Now – in our virtual online world, it’s more important than ever to pace yourself as you speak.
Here are 5 quick and dirty scenarios and tips to help you pace yourself day-to-day both at work and at home:
- 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!
- 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.
- When you’re on a conference call (when aren’t you!?) 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.
- A presentation of sorts. 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 and starting straight away. The moment needs build up and the pianist knows the audience needs to settle too.
- When you’re running a meeting. Rather than feel you have to know everything, ask questions around the virtual or real 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.
This week has been somewhat disruptive here in our home. We’re having work done combining our kitchen and dining room and the phrase “You can’t make an omelette without breaking the eggs” is front of mind. The Plasterer on stilts; 80s loud music; Builders singing and swearing in equal measures; joists being replaced; no kitchen and using a microwave only.
All quality problems and I underestimated the energy it takes to be bounced out of the main hub of our home.
Talking of omelette/eggs – I’ve been making the building team poached eggs on toast each morning and this sign was there for me today! Enough said…