Slow down … or speed up?


When speaking with clients and prospects, should you be speeding up your speech, or perhaps taking it down a notch? Does it even matter? Believe it or not, it does … a lot! Pace of speech is a crucial aspect of a communication technique known as “mirroring and matching.” This topic is so rich and multifaceted that we could explore it from many angles, but this blog post’s focus is on pace of speech .

Quick Review: What is Rapport?

Understanding rapport is the first step. Rapport is about creating a sense of familiarity and trust with your prospects or new acquaintances. It hinges on finding commonality, and one swift route to achieving this is through mirroring and matching—the art of aligning your communication style with that of the person you’re speaking to. After all, people are naturally inclined to trust those who seem similar to them. That’s why we seek to establish rapport – to earn trust more quickly.

Pace of Speech

Pace of speech is a significant element of our communication. It’s not just what we say but how quickly or slowly we say it that can influence the dynamics of a conversation.

Imagine this scenario: a fast-talking New Yorker in conversation with a Texan, whose speech tempo might be more relaxed. The New Yorker, accustomed to a brisk pace, might associate the Texan’s slower speed with a lack of intelligence. Conversely, the Texan might view the New Yorker’s rapid-fire delivery as a sign of distrustworthiness, interpreting the speed as an attempt to deceive or overwhelm. Such extremes in speech pace can lead to misconceptions and barriers to genuine connection.

This brings us to the core of mirroring and matching as it relates to pace of speech. When engaging with clients or colleagues,  tune into their speech rhythm. If you find yourself on the faster side of the conversation, it may be wise to slow down, breathe, and consciously adjust your pace to align more closely with theirs. On the flip side, if you’re naturally more measured in your speech but find yourself in conversation with someone who operates at a higher tempo, don’t hesitate to pick up the pace a bit.

Adjusting your speech pace isn’t about being inauthentic. It’s about creating a bridge of comfort and trust. By aligning your verbal tempo with that of the person you’re speaking to, you’re signaling respect for their communication style and communicating with them in a mode that is more familiar and comfortable.

In real estate, where client trust is critical, mastering the technique of mirroring and matching speech pace can be a game-changer. It enhances rapport, and can make the difference between a client feeling understood and connected or feeling distant and disengaged.

People First

Remember, the goal is not to mimic or manipulate, but to harmonize. By being mindful of the pace at which we speak, we open the door to more meaningful and productive conversations. Next time you’re interacting with a client or colleague, pay close attention to the tempo of the dialogue. Adjusting your pace to match theirs is a simple yet profound step toward establishing stronger, more trusting relationships in your professional life.