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Part V: Ten Tips for Tip-Top Listening > Build Rapport by Pacing the Speaker

Chapter 29. Build Rapport by Pacing the Speaker

Pacing is a method listeners use to build a positive relationship with a speaker by imitating or mirroring his or her verbal and non-verbal cues. These gestures include breathing, voice rate, vocabulary, favorite phrases, and facial expressions. Of course, if we imitate too closely we will be accused of mimicking, and our attempts to build rapport will be lost.

When pacing, the listener focuses on what the speaker is doing as well as what he or she is saying. The listener then makes a conscious effort to become more like the speaker. The speaker senses the similarities and feels at ease because we are most comfortable with people who are more like us. When others’ behaviors are very different from our own, we adjust less easily to their styles.


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