For Lawyers – 4 Guidelines for Improving your Professional Pace

Not to be confused with PACE University, whether online or in New York – which has a school of law- or with the P.A.C.E. program of Houghton University, which boasts a management degree for working adults, pace in this blog post has to do with speed appropriate to the moment.

For decades now females have entered the business and professional world thinking they need to increase their pace to keep up with their male counterparts. Whether in the corporate setting or otherwise, there is a sense that a quickened pace rules the culture.

In sales, the driven often rise to the top quickly. One mark of who they are rests with their speed – accelerated compared to others.

Yet pace, in all its NASCAR glory, has little to do with high speed when creating success. Ironically, high speed has many things to do with creating failure.


Pace, from a communication standpoint, is likened to pace on the racetrack. That speed which allows control, which allows for transitioning from one point to the next, and that which engages influence is what we seek.

Start off fast and we likely lose people. Start off too slow and unless we adjust in a few seconds, again our listeners will drop off. Pace is based on keen observation skills. Being present to how well those around us are on track with our message determines our need to make adjustments. Whether we need to slow down, inserting detail, questions for feedback, etc.  Or to speed up with story and personal asides that enhance the emotional connection and support.

Pace conjures up our willingness to take our time. Consider your responsibilities from your office. When writing or researching, your pace will be measured, slower, requiring blocks of time to adequately get a piece of your work accomplished. When rehearsing for a presentation, slower pace is required so you can practice your ability to be articulate and thoughtful.

Quicken the pace when your audience or listeners are short on time or bogged down by lengthy prior speakers or complicated information. The variation will refresh their energy and allow you to stand out. If you are rehearsing for a presentation, running it in hyper pace gives you a sense of how well you know where you’re going and what it takes to get there.

Pace yourself. When you are overwhelmed by a mountain of To-Do’s on your list, slow down your anxiety level by selecting the top priority, closing your door and moving forward on it. If your anxiety level is heightened, it will take you much longer to begin.

When we jump into our day running full speed ahead, more than likely we haven’t had the chance to think, to plan nor to prepare. Although we may see others doing this, we are wiser to take time to think through our process, especially if we are introverts. Thinking is key for introverts. This allows us to use the pace that is most effective for our abilities. With preparation, we will be ready to move up our pace when with those who expect it. Remember, pacing is appropriate not only for us but for those we are with.

Guidelines for improving your professional pace:

1. Start slow when you are learning concepts, subjects and skills.
Keep in mind that based on the learning curve, you will be expected to increase the pace of your delivery to reflect your confidence. Find out what is expected of you – by when you should be at a certain skill level.

2. Speed up to challenge yourself in the above.
Mistakes are made when we get faster. From these mistakes we will learn lessons pertinent to what we need to focus on next. Be sure to challenge yourself at faster paces so you learn what you need to do for improving your level.

3. Slow down when you are trying to dissect, analyze and connect with others.
The only way to continue doing what you’re doing and also pay attention to what’s going on around you is to slow down.

4. The ultimate test of appropriate pace is to match the pace of your observers/listeners.
Are they in need of more time? Give it. Are they pushed for time or results? Speed up.

Each of us is challenged by our own metabolism, sense of discipline, willingness to ask for help and willingness to make mistakes. Get over your inhibitions around being flexible with your pacing. Those willing to adjust are those who will find success.

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On September 6th, 2011, posted in: Connecting, controllling self, discipline, public speaking by