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


How to Overcome Blocks to Effective Listening


You have probably heard the saying “we have two ears and one mouth”, implying that we should be listening twice as much as speaking in order to truely connect, understand and communicate with others. Often our thoughts and actions can have an adverse effect on our ability to listen effectively. Let’s look at a few key aspects that relate to this and the skills and techniques we can apply:

1. Assumptions 

Avoid clouding up your listening attention with assumptions about what your client is trying to say, what they really mean, what they want you to hear, etc.  Assumptions are often not accurate and they could certainly prevent you from focusing on what’s being said.  To manage this situation, you can say within your mind “If I’m assuming, I’m not listening.” Tune in on any possible assumptions they might be making based on what you hear. If you feel you need to, check-in with them by asking a question to “pop” any possible assumption and provide clarity for both you and them.

2. Buzz Words

Your prospect or client may have private buzz words which have a definite emotional charge, sometimes positive, sometimes more negative.  When you hear their own buzz words, it may be appropriate to reject or accept the whole message on the basis of their instant emotional reaction to the word or idea.  If you get hooked into the buzz word and its emotional intention, the listening stops.

3. Interruptions

In our haste to share our own ideas, we cut others off. This conveys to your client that you do not value what they have to say, and this can result in the perception of lack of respect. If you have something to say, hold the thought while staying focused on listening to the other person. This may not come easy, but it is important to stay committed towards developing this skill. Make sure they finish their sentence or their message they are trying to communicate and keep the discussion flowing.

4.  Generalisations

If you feel they are generalizing too much, ask them to be more specific. You can do this by asking questions that start with the following:

 “What specifically …”

 “How specifically …”

 “Who specifically …”.


What specifically would you like to achieve during this meeting?”

 How specifically can I be of service to you right now?”

 Who specifically would be most suitable to help you develop the project plan?”

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