Building Rapport with Pacing and Leading


The concept of pacing and leading can be used to serve a number of different scenarios. Whether it be simply complimenting someone or leading the person to taking healthy action, this simple and powerful technique should be used regularly to build rapport with your clients.

Firstly, let’s look at what does not work:

AVIOD using the following sentence structure:

I understand … but …

Firstly, how can anyone truly understand someone else – they may be making an assumption. Secondly, the use of the word “but” violates everything that precedes.


If someone said the following to you what would you think?

“I understand how you feel but I think you should just do it anyway.”
You might think that it is impossible for them to understand how you feel, as they are not you – and you are probably right. Secondly, they also used the “but” word, which is usually not received very positively by most people.

INSTEAD use the following sentence structure:

I acknowledge/appreciate/respect … and …

It is a lot harder for someone to automatically reason that you do not appreciate or respect them. Also, remember that people like to be acknowledged, so acknowledge them by saying the words. The use of the word “and” here, does not violate what has just been said and positive language has been used. It flows better towards where you want to take them in the conversation.


1.  I acknowledge all the great work you have done today and I can see the positive results.

2.  I appreciate your point of view and I believe it would be beneficial for us to consider some other possibilities. Is that OK with you?

3.  I respect your current situation and I look forward to inviting you along to the next event.

 Article Author: Mark Coburn


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