Why Do People Pace? Do You?

21 replies
It is common and for some a near must in order to engage in conversation. Especially those conversing on the telephone.
So why do people pace back and forth when they are talking? (Easier then up and down, lol)

Research I found says that pacing is your bodies way of releasing excess energy caused by a rise in stress. Also finding that people indicated they are able to think better when they are pacing.

Personally, I find myself pacing when I am talking on an important phone call. Usually a phone meeting or legal issues activate my pacing. Although I am sure I can still proceed through conversation without pacing, I can certainly say I feel less stress when I do.

Could there be some connection between concentrated thoughts and movement?
Can our pacing act as a thought provoker?
Is it simply a way of releasing stress risen from a conversation?


My curiosity is growing on this topic and little research seems to have been done on it. So what do the Warriors know or have to say about this?
#pace #people
  • Profile picture of the author fallison
    I don't know why I do it or what causes it but I cannot hardly talk on the phone without pacing. I do it even when having a friendly conversation or talking with family. my children even make fun of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
    I haven't thought about it that much, though I am a fierce pacer when talking on the phone. I even bought an expensive wireless headset for my office phone system to make it easier to indulge.

    I do find myself more compelled to pace on calls I know will be more stressful (i.e. sales, legal, big picture business strategy) and less on calls I know will be more casual (friends, family, customer support)

    On bigger calls, I sometimes even find myself leaving my office and pacing the suite or even the building's hallway. It definitely is soothing in some way. Maybe it makes me feel more important, like a power play.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dain Supero
    Originally Posted by damiensuccess View Post

    It is common and for some a near must in order to engage in conversation. Especially those conversing on the telephone.
    So why do people pace back and forth when they are talking? (Easier then up and down, lol)

    Research I found says that pacing is your bodies way of releasing excess energy caused by a rise in stress. Also finding that people indicated they are able to think better when they are pacing.

    Personally, I find myself pacing when I am talking on an important phone call. Usually a phone meeting or legal issues activate my pacing. Although I am sure I can still proceed through conversation without pacing, I can certainly say I feel less stress when I do.

    Could there be some connection between concentrated thoughts and movement?
    Can our pacing act as a thought provoker?
    Is it simply a way of releasing stress risen from a conversation?


    My curiosity is growing on this topic and little research seems to have been done on it. So what do the Warriors know or have to say about this?
    Both points are correct.

    I pace back and forth like a caged tiger when I'm stressed.

    But I also pace back and forth when I'm practising rhetoric or preparing a speech. The repetitive nature of this movement increases mental clarity to a small extent, I find.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Neat post Could be nervous energy, or it could let the energy flow. I prefer sitting down when on the phone, but find myself pacing at the airport when I'm waiting for a flight, or when delayed during travels. Gives ya a little extra cardio if nothing else
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  • Profile picture of the author damiensuccess
    My observations and personal opinions

    After thinking about this today, I was looking at what happens when you begin pacing during a phone conversation or other important event.

    -Stimulation of the heart and blood flow
    -Constantly changing scenery
    -Muscle movements


    Three of these points all seem to have its benefits towards engaging in an important conversation.

    1- More oxygen flow to the brain to help thinking
    2- Less capable of noticing or focusing in on distractions by moving scenery
    3- Entertained by physical movement of your own body



    Think we might be on to something here. Near scientific hypothesis!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    I can't work and pace at the same time. If I feel restless, then I will simply shut down my laptop and go outside for a jog or do something else which requires intense physical exertion. And, in that way, I can get the pent up energy out of my body before coming back to get down to work again.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenzo22
    As you said, it's the way of releasing the stress. If you don't want to show it to the person you are talking to, you have to find another way of doing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    Pacing and fidgeting shows nervousness or lack of self control, so whenever I'm in a meeting, I control my body movements. This is easier if you are on top of your game and very focused. It helps to be well rested. If you feel the need to pace or walk around, do so with a purpose.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyjensen
    I used to pace (while on the phone) in my early days. Got my blood moving, helped my thinking be more assertive, clear, and active. Then I got a skill set down better. Knew what to focus on more. Didn’t need so much pump and drive to deliver what I wanted to.

    Now being calm and communicating is working better for me. What do I need to do? – is one of the questions to ask myself. Then I do that as best I can. Some days are certainly better than others.

    People do respond to the pump up when you are moving though. Enthusiasm is contagious and you simply cannot sit still. Under appropriate conditions you do not have to sit.
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    • Profile picture of the author damiensuccess
      Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

      Pacing and fidgeting shows nervousness or lack of self control, so whenever I'm in a meeting, I control my body movements. This is easier if you are on top of your game and very focused. It helps to be well rested. If you feel the need to pace or walk around, do so with a purpose.
      Exercise... I think this is very important to maintaining control of your body. We are designed to be energetic. Now that you said this, I have been lacking the exercise I need. Being involved with intense fitness, and now very little exercise seem to have initiated more pacing. Certainly not a big issue for me since I have always alone when I am pacing on the phone or whatnot. Certainly should bring in more exercise this summer. Thanks!

      Originally Posted by Jeffery Moss View Post

      I can't work and pace at the same time. If I feel restless, then I will simply shut down my laptop and go outside for a jog or do something else which requires intense physical exertion. And, in that way, I can get the pent up energy out of my body before coming back to get down to work again.
      I feel this is a good habit to have. A well balanced mental and physical activity. Taking a jog, or doing yard work can be something I put more time into. Like we have been saying here - Release the built up energy - Exercise would certainly do well for this. In turn, maybe less pacing.. Body would be fulfilled, or too tired to pace, ha ha.

      Originally Posted by tobyjensen View Post

      I used to pace (while on the phone) in my early days. Got my blood moving, helped my thinking be more assertive, clear, and active. Then I got a skill set down better. Knew what to focus on more. Didn't need so much pump and drive to deliver what I wanted to.

      Now being calm and communicating is working better for me. What do I need to do? - is one of the questions to ask myself. Then I do that as best I can. Some days are certainly better than others.

      People do respond to the pump up when you are moving though. Enthusiasm is contagious and you simply cannot sit still. Under appropriate conditions you do not have to sit.
      As you say, Under appropriate conditions....
      If we're talking about a speaker of some sort? When in front of a crowd it is usually important to keep moving.. Constantly changing where your sending your focus to within the audience.
      Walking from one side of the stage to the other is a practice to help keep the audience engaged in you. Having there eyes follow you keeps them from distractions around them. I wouldn't call this pacing with the same purpose however..
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  • Profile picture of the author MrTwoFister
    I do this. I always thought it was because I otherwise get distracted. Pacing allows me to focus on the conversation. Sounds odd. But for example, when I listen to a webinar, I doodle. If I don't, I don't hear anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO VET
    Good post, i know this is an older thread but just found it. For some reason when im in heavy thought i pace like crazy. I can barely sit still the way it is. why i do this i dont know. I figured it was from being in the military. (IE when you go on a 4 mile run and totally get lost in your head thinking about stuff while your body is on auto pilot doing the running.) My significant other is like HOLY man, what you doing? gonna wear the damn carpet out! we have literally went thru a few area rugs from my pacing. Its def a good work out, im sure i walk 5-6 miles a day, 40-50ft at a time haha. I have come up with some ingenious tactics and strategies that absolutely destroy in my industry while pacing. Im not sure if it helps a person think on a more clear level or what. Id definitely like to get some more information on pacing, why a person does it ect.
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  • You pace because you want to.

    If someone sells you the idea that pacing helps you fix things on the phone, then you'll want to do it more.

    But it's all a crock.

    Pacing is pacing.

    It isn't thinking, it isn't persuasion, it isn't conversation.

    Try pacing as an act in itself and see what happens.

    It's a bad stucko habit to get hooked on in a moving world when what needs fixing is the thinko talko thing.

    So drop the baggage and hit on what counts.

    Bad multitasking, guys, so I'm with tobyj.

    As being of finite energy I say pacing can go hang itself.
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  • Uh oh.

    Missed the key part.

    Let's assume you've neurolinkotwanged THINKING with PACING.

    And let's assume you're Mr Kickass Calorie Burn Guy on your cell phone, regularly cracking off eurekas as you backflip round the office.

    What happens in a Face to Face?

    How are you gonna tap your superpowers?

    Or are business meetings like ballet class these days?

    Just sayin'.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdlerSEO57
    I'm actually a very 'sit still' person- so perhaps I have less stress? I don't find this necessarily true, but maybe I just tend to hold my stress in more while people who pace are more likely to release stress in a constructive way. I think many people pace because the movement allows them to clear their mind and focus on the conversation rather than sitting still and having outside sources to take your mind from what you're discussing.
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    • Profile picture of the author iam8iam
      Pacing in private is ok, but it is one of the big no-nos of public speaking. Highly distracting.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO VET
    haha princess, i only do it in private. i havnt told myself to pace or that its good to do, have no clue how i even started.
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  • Profile picture of the author HDRider
    Never really thought about it but I guess I do when on a long phone call. Not really pacing but I wander from room to room.
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  • Physiology lesson.

    1) Muscles contract. When they stop contracting, they are at rest.
    2) Muscles only contract when the brain says CONTRACT.

    Pace around when it is not necessary (and remember, pacing is pacing, not 'talking' or 'negotiating' or 'inventing') and you are ******* on the whole 'available equipment' deal.

    Your energy is finite, guys, so save the whole limb fling thing for karate or sex with a rhino.
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  • Uh oh, the mods axed my ass.

    Still true, even if they boot me.
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  • Reminds me of the Peripatetic school where they used to prace around and think and discuss epistemology and ethics manily. I do it myself by phone at home mainly. I think it's more of an ambience seeking kind of thing. It might also have to do with our minds peculiar ability to subtract static information from conscious perception. That means, we pace in order to "reget into the world". Have you noticed that when people realize they've forgot their keys they will stop for a sec? Our mind interprets both our inner and outer world, hence it cannot be at two places at once satisfiably.
    I will let you in on something, science has no clue when it comes to immaterialism. So, it can not state more than: We observe X behaviour.
    From a scientific point of view, someone lifting weights and someone being executed are both experiencing: variables of stress.
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