Life Skills: Rapport #3, Influence : You’ve Paced, Now Lead

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In the last couple posts (here and here) you were shown the rapport move called pacing. Pacing effectively creates a connection so that you can lead a conversation in the direction you want to go. This could be as simple as where to have dinner or as complex as agreeing on a project development contract.
Pacing allows you to establish a connection regardless of the content of the interaction. It gives you multiple ways to build a powerfully effective unconscious connection. Conceptually it’s easy: pace, then lead.
Leading is only possible after you have paced enough to have rapport. Rapport creates permission to suggest a new pace, direction, or content. Without that permission, your suggestions are more likely to be ignored than heeded. Noticing the difference between having rapport and not comes with practice. So practice in small chunks, in low-risk places.
It’s easy to start in small chunks. Like, if you’re pacing breathing, you test by gently changing the speed of your breathing. You could slow down the pace or you could speed it up. If you’re pacing the speed of someone’s speech, you can speak back to them a little faster or speak to them a little slower. For instance if you find someone’s speed of speech to be a little bit too fast for your liking, it’s worthwhile to change that if only for your comfort.
You can start a sentence talking at the same speed they are, and then gently just sort of start slowing it down. Or perhaps you pace the speed of their speech with head nods. It’s then very naturally and gradually slow down your nods and then take your turn, even with a slight interruption if needed. When you have offered a few changes in pace and they have matched you, now you know you have rapport. What’s more, you have been permitted to shift the dialogue. You have successfully influenced the conversation.
You can do the same thing with voice tone and all the other qualities of speech and physical analogs. These are subtle practices that enable you to create and maintain a connection while introducing changes of perspective and outcomes that are your intention for engaging with this person or persons.
In short the pacing and leading process is:
1)choose something to pace (a voice quality, breathing, etc.);
2) pace that for a while;
3) introduce a change in the pace;
4) notice if the change you offered is matched by them. If not, go back and pace them some more.
When your change in pace is matched, offer your next suggestion, which could be another change of pace, or a change in the content of your conversation.
What’s the point? Perhaps you want to suggest a date, or ask for a raise, or agree on a vacation destination. These are the sorts of suggestions that are much more well received when you have rapport.
So start small and easy, practice with casual things and relationships. That builds your confidence, so pacing and leading will be automatic when you are up to something important.
Be Well, and Enjoy!

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