Studies of successful people have shown over and over again that they have a great talent for creating rapport. Those who are flexible and attractive in all three modes can affect large numbers of people whether as a teacher, a businessman, or a world leader. But you don’t need any sort of natural gift to do it. If you can see and hear and feel, you can create rapport with anyone just by doing what he does. You’re looking for the things you can mirror as unobtrusively and as naturally as possible. If you mirror a person who is asthmatic or has a terrible twitch, instead of achieving rapport, you’ll lead him to think you’re mocking him.
By practicing consistently, you enter the world of whomever you’re with and speaking in that person’s mode. It will soon become second nature. And you will do it automatically without any conscious thought. When you begin to mirror effectively, you’ll learn that the process does more than just allow you to achieve rapport and understand the other person. Because of what’s known as pacing and leading, you are able to get them to follow you. It doesn’t matter how different you are. It doesn’t matter how you meet. If you can establish enough rapport with someone, before too long you can change his behavior to begin matching yours.
Let us give you an example. A few years ago, X’s business began to develop a relationship with a very powerful doctor in Beverly Hills. They got off on the wrong foot. The powerful doctor (P) wanted an immediate decision on a proposal, but X was out of town, and he was the only one who could make the decision. P didn’t like having to wait for someone as young as X and he was in a pretty antagonistic state when X finally met him.
X found him sitting in his office in a very rigid position, his muscles tensed. X sat in the chair opposite him in exactly the same posture and began to mirror the rhythm of his breathing. He spoke rapidly, so X spoke rapidly. He had an unusual way of gesturing, waving his right arm in a circle. X picked up the same thing.
Despite the bad circumstances of their meeting, they began to get along. Why? Because by matching him, X thought of establishing rapport. Before too long, X began to see if X could lead him. First, X slowed down the pace of his speech. P slowed down, too. Then X sat back in his chair. P did the same thing. At the beginning, X was matching and mirroring him. But as rapport developed, X was able to lead him (P) to match and mirror him. Then P asked X to come out for lunch, and they ended up having a really friendly meal together, as if they were the best of friends. Now this was a guy who hated my guts when X walked into the door. So you don’t need to have ideal circumstances to mirror well. You just need the skill to adapt your behavior to that of someone else.
What X was doing with this man was pacing and leading. Pacing is just graceful mirroring, moving the way a person moves, changing gestures as he changes. Once you attain great skill in mirroring someone else, you can change your physiology and behavior almost instinctively as the other person changes. Rapport is not static; it’s not something that remains stable once achieved. It’s a dynamic, fluid, flexible process. Just as the key to establishing a truly resonant, lasting relationship is the ability to change and adjust to what someone else is going through, the key to pacing is an ability to elegantly and accurately change gears when someone else does.
Leading follows directly from pacing. As you establish rapport with someone, you create a link that can almost be felt. Leading comes just as naturally as pacing. You reach a point where you start to initiate change rather than just mirroring the other person, a point where you have developed so much rapport that when you change, the other person will unconsciously follow you. You’ve probably experienced being with friends late at night when you’re not tired at all, but you’re in such deep rapport that when they yawn, you yawn, too. The best salesmen do exactly the same thing. They enter another person’s world, achieve rapport, and then use that rapport to lead.
Pacing and Leading:
1. Match Predicates
2. Match Sequence of Accessing Cues
3. Match Tonality
4. Match Pitch
Analogical Pacing or Mirroring:
3. Moisture on the skin
4. Head Position
5. Facial Movements
6. Movement of Eyebrows
7. Pupil Size
8. Muscle Tension
9. Weights Shifts
10. Movement of Feet
11. Placement of Body Parts
12. Spacial Relationships
13. Hand Gestures
14. Body Movements through Space
15. Body Posture