How To Practice Hypnotic Pacing and Leading

Filed under: Hypnosis Training

Every good Ericksonian hypnotist knows this. 

We’re talking about pacing and leading. Do you want to get really good at constructing Ericksonian hypnotic language? If yes, you’ll need to master this basic, but powerful pattern.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • How to do Pacing and Leading with Yes Sets.

  • How to practice hypnotic language patterns with Pacing and Leading exercises.

  • How to fully master Ericksonian hypnotic language with our free NUVI app.

What Is Pacing and Leading?

Pacing and Leading is a rapport-building technique that can be used in a multitude of ways. It can be done non-verbally – in this case, called Matching and Mirroring – or it can be achieved with words.

In this blog post, we’ll be covering verbal Pacing and Leading. We’ll explore how you can pace another person’s words and statements, and then lead them to a desired way of thinking or outcome. We’ll also explain how we can use this as a simple exercise to practice hypnotic language patterns.

Pacing Statements - The Yes Set

We start by making pacing statements, which mostly come in the form of a Yes Set.

A Yes Set is a series of three to five statements which are undeniably true (also called truisms), thus causing the other person to say “yes” to each statement or at least agree with them internally. 

If it’s a sunny day, you might say: “It’s a bright and sunny day today, isn’t it?” Because what you said is a simple fact that he has to recognize, the person will undoubtedly agree with you;

If you’re a consulting hypnotist, you may follow up with a statement like “And this is your first session with me, right?” And once again, he has no other option but to agree.

This may sound awkward and silly, especially if you’re an introvert, but be assured it’s just a matter of practice. As long as you’re congruent, the other person will think you’re just making conversation, and that’s okay. What’s really happening though, is you’re creating an agreement frame.

After saying “yes” three to five times in a row, it becomes very difficult for a person to suddenly start saying “no”. That sequence of unconnected statements creates a sort of momentum, and briefly puts the person in a state where they’re prone to agree with any statement you make.

It’s time for the next step.

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Leading Statements

Because the person will likely agree with your suggestions at this point, it’s time to lead them to where you want to go. The agreement frame you’ve created will help push them in that direction, getting them to comply with what you’re offering them.

A disclaimer: this is NOT some magical mind control trick that will get a person to do anything you want. If we had that sort of power, we’d be rulers of the entire world by now. 

It’s rather a simple, but highly effective communication technique that when used congruently, can direct someone’s thoughts in a certain way. It does not, however, enable you to make decisions for other people. Although you can give them a little push, each person’s choices are ultimately their own.

With that in mind, the next step after the Yes Set is to offer a leading statement. In a hypnosis session in your office, that could be something like “And you’re ready to go into trance now, right?”

That’s it. It’s as simple as that.

Pro Tip: Practice on Yourself

You can practice being both the hypnotist and the subject by giving yourself empowering suggestions as leading statements.

Start with a Yes Set. Look around you and make three statements about your environment that are undeniably true. It could be weather, the colors of the walls, or even how your body feels at the moment. Then give yourself a positive and empowering suggestion. 

Pretty easy, right? 

The really neat thing about this exercise though, is you can use it to practice Ericksonian hypnotic language patterns, too.

Instead of making a series of unconnected statements, use linkages to form a Never Ending Sentence with the Yes Set. The following example was presented by Chris in this blog post’s accompanying video:

“And it’s a simple thing to notice the lights shining on me, and I’m aware of the camera in front of me, and I can see myself on the monitor over there, and it’s a simple thing to get comfortable talking on camera.”

Chris used simple linkages to connect a series of truisms, and then he gave himself an empowering statement in the form of an embedded command.

(Read: How To Use Embedded Commands in Hypnosis and Conversation.)

In Mike’s example, he wraps up the sequence with a suggestion more suitable to hypnosis sessions: “...which makes it easy to sink into trance.” Once again, the sentence ends with an embedded command.

Practice this anytime throughout the day. When you’re walking through a mall or driving in your car, get in the habit of practicing hypnotic Pacing and Leading. Point out to yourself things you can notice, then follow up with leading suggestions in the form of empowering statements.

Remember to tie everything together using linkages. That way, you’ll get really good at crafting Never Ending Sentences and using Embedded Commands.

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