Pacing With Mittmann; How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

OOPS………They did it again!!

There are some people who know exactly what to say and when to say it…….we call them “tactful,” “diplomatic.”
What they are actually doing is what is called “pacing” in neuro-linguistic terms. It means they are adjusting what they do, and what they say, so as to be in sync with whomever they are communicating.  Pacing creates rapport and a sense of “sameness” that opens the door to relationship and interdependent activity which benefits all parties involved. It’s measurable, and  it’s critical in business, diplomacy, negotiation, and intimacy. People who do this thoroughly understand the neurological implications of language, both verbal and non-verbal.

Somebody please tell Mitt

This week, just a few hours before the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, we heard Mitt Romney, candidate for POTUS, playing the part of a visiting dignitary in London, did the opposite by verbally throwing mud on his hosts. 

What was he thinking?Brian Williams NBC nd Mitt Romney

I mention this, not because I have a preference in the current race for President of the United States, IMO the best candidates for POTUS are most likely too sane to want the job.  I bring it up because there is a lesson here for anyone who wishes to become an elegant communicator, or wishes to be effective and influential.  Ask anyone who is a motivator/leader. Ask anyone who uses language to create specific moods and outcomes for the benefit of their personal agenda, or the benefit of others. 

They’ll tell you

  •  know your audience,
  •  consider the impact your words will have on the listener and
  • craft your message so that it will resonate in a particular way so as to generate a desired response from the listener.


When Mitt, tells Brian Williams, (paraphrase)” the private security contractor needs help from the military because they didn’t hire enough people, the British Customs and Immigration Service is on strike; so your borders are unsafe,  and he’s not sure whether the British people as a whole are supporting having the Olympics in London.”  All based seemingly on news printed in London’s notoriously sensational tabloids,  I wonder what response he was expecting to receive? Lord knows, a response he got……..

The Mayor of London fired back, the Prime Minister David Cameron fired back, and even the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah got into the fray.

Now it’s possible that all this is about as candid as a reality TV show and the script was written before the words were spoken, all designed to get more airplay…….or he may have even galvanized the enthusiasm of the British people towards the events, but where’s the motive….it’s hardly self-serving……….  but for the sake of  the lesson, let’s make believe it was truly a gaffe on the part of Romney. 

We’ll never know.

So let’s unpack this.

Assuming he listened to Brian Williams’ innocent question, (paraphrase) “You haven’t been here long, but in the few hours you have, what’s your take on the Olympics here in London.”

A perfect pitch of a question.

He could have gone anywhere with it. A PR dream come true, and what does he do?

He comes out like a he’s running a PowerPoint presentation to a team he’s chastising for slacking off. As if he knows something they don’t, rife with arrogance and self-righteousness.   A perfect empty suit, problem focused  tongue-lashing, with no suggestion of a positive solution..

No one wants to hear it from you Mitt. No one asked you for advice, and no one really cares about your armchair management view.

Pacing: As a visiting dignitary, and candidate for POTUS, I would imagine his purpose is to show the world he can handle himself graciously in the international arena, and create some rapport, and goodwill. Which IMO, would mean stating all the obvious “positives”; about the billions of dollars invested toward this “worthwhile” endeavor, respect for the fifteen years of commitment to the project, the execution of all the sites leading up to opening night, the excitement in the air, and his wishes of all the best for the athletes, for his host, and the safety of all the guests. A big smile for the camera, and a “thanks for having me on the show.”

He would be echoing the obvious wishes and desires of the majority of his audience both in the UK, internationally, and back in the US.

That’s pacing

He would have
created a different response, and although there is always a critic looking for an opportunity to pounce, he wouldn’t have loaded the gun for them. Wherein he could better use his time toward the messages he wants to be delivering, instead of trying to clean up his mess.

Please comment

What do you think?… I hope my British readers join in.

All the best,

Mark Schwimmer

Upcoming workshop in New York City

The Seven Conversational Secrets of the Best Communicators

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  • read the subtler signals in the system,
  • become a much more effective communicator, leader, motivator, change agent, or partner
  • be the one who knows exactly what to say, when, where, and to whom, to get the response you want.
  • never drop a stink bomb in the middle of a slam dunk negotiation, 
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Leave A Reply (1 comment so far)

  1. Steve Westerfield
    9 years ago

    Hey Mark…. Did you get me email response to the email you sent me? I sent it over two weeks ago. All I need is a yes or no.


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