This is one of the most most important topics in NLP.
Pacing and leading is the power to gain rapport with someone and then lead them somewhere new. It can mean the success or failure of your relationship, how fluid your business associations will be, and even how well you connect with your family.
Having the ability to pace and lead someone will show you how far you will be able to connect with someone, and take your relationships to more profound levels.
Pacing and leading is just simply gaining rapport with someone (pacing them), and then leading them to some kind of new distinction or connection.
People naturally want to connect with others. They naturally want to gain rapport and what happens in any relationship is a back and forth dance of pacing and leading.
This concept is very fluid and one person is not always leading. It is as simple as one person asking a new question that leads the conversation in a new direction.
What is important is that if you correctly pace and lead your partner in communication, you will be able to gain greater rapport, take your connection to deeper levels, others will like you more, and you will like them more as you have connected even further then where you were before.
On a simple date, a man paces his date by taking the time to understand her. She talks about where she grew up, her family, and other such things. Each question that he asks gives her the opportunity to join him in greater rapport. When she asks a return question then she is leading and he has the opportunity to join her in greater rapport as well.
This is a very simple example, but pacing and leading goes for any type of communication.
What is most important to successfully pace and lead anyone that you are in communication with are three things:
- Rapport- the person must feel connected to you, as if you know them and they know you. When you have enough rapport, then anything is possible.
- A small enough bridge for your partner to cross with you- to get someone to come with you, you can’t always ask the moon of them right away. Start off small, but ask for more from your partner in communication.
- An incentive to come with you- the person you are communicating with must have something positive to gain from being in connection with you.
It’s not necessary for all of these things to be true for effective pacing and leading, but if you are succeeding in all of these areas with your partner in communication then there is no reason for them not to come along with you.
In another example, a salesman who sells widgets to different companies. One CEO he is meeting with is talking to him about the devices. Our salesman fails to ask questions, on which widget would be right for the CEO and rapport is destroyed. The salesman asks for a quick lunch appointment the next day, but with no rapport and no incentive the CEO has to decline.
Pacing and leading is happening all the time in all of your relationships. If you are able to become more conscious of your communication then you can do even better in your pacing and leading. If you ever find that someone isn’t following where you want to go, then it is going to be because of at least one of the three keys above was not covered enough.
People aren’t always going to follow your lead so when they don’t, don’t take it personally. Accept them and their decision. Then aim to gain more rapport with them. Understand them and why they didn’t say yes. Then make another request (lead) and allow them to follow you in that connection.
Pacing and leading is the single most powerful thing you can learn when becoming better in your relationships. Aim to connect more and people will follow you more and more. Then you will become even more connected with the people whom you want to be.