NLP Techniques: Pacing and Matching

Submitted by Craig on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:08

The Idea:

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. When we pace matched the experience of another person, we honor them by joining them in the representation of their world.
Pacing, matching and mirroring are ways to gain fast and deep rapport with another person.

Successful salespeople understand this intuitively. Lovers do this instinctively, and any couple or group with a high degree of camaraderie assume the same postures, gestures, vocabulary, movements and rhythms of others in the group. In an intimate setting rapport can be gained through matching eye movements, postures, breathing, tone, nodding, and other rhythmic gestures.

People can connect by matching with each other at any of the Neurological Levels:

  • Environmental Matching
  • Behavioral Matching
  • Capability Matching
  • Beliefs and Values Matching
  • Identity Matching
  • Sprituality Matching

There are times when it is appropriate to break rapport for the purpose of moving on to another priority. This is most easily and tactfully done by introducing a mismatch into the process.

One of the easiest ways to mismatch is through physiology rather than through words. For example of two people were sitting down and talking and one suddenly stands up. That signals the end of the conversation. More subtle gestures would include leaning away from the person, pointing your feet toward the door, looking at your watch or changing the rate of your breathing and blinking.

On the phone, it's also possible to mismatch by changing your tone rate of speed or volume to be much different than that of the person you're talking to. All of these are ways to signal the coming end of a conversation without having to say so directly.

The Pattern:

1. Take on the physiology similar to your partner

  • Stand or sit the way your partner is standing or sitting.
  • Assume the same posture as your partner
  • Assume the same breathing patterns
  • Use big or small gestures and rhythms in harmony with your partner
  • Match the pitch, quality tone volume and speed of your partner's voice

2. Match the other person's representational system preferences

  • Compare by accessing cues with verbal predicates to determine which representational system your partner prefers
  • Does your partner strongly favor one representational system over another?

3. Match the persons met or frames, values, and beliefs

  • Use similar words as your partner when speaking about values, believes, standards etc.
  • What frames do you discern?
  • What emotions are conjured up?

4. Intentionally mismatch your partner

  • Intentionally mismatch one or more of the elements you were matching earlier, and observe just how quickly rapport can evaporate.

5. Regain rapport through matching
Repeat steps 1 through 3, until rapport is again established.

When To Use This Pattern:

Use this pattern in conjunction with all other NLP patterns. Good NLP requires a state of rapport between client and coach. If rapport is ever lost during an NLP pattern, stop and regain rapport before continuing.
Use this pattern in your romantic endeavors, in your profession, and with family and friends, and notice how life's skids are greased just a little more.


Michael Hall, and others.