Pacing is the technique of mirroring someone’s emotional or mental state in order to establish rapport with them. When a PUA paces an interaction, he puts himself in the other person’s shoes in order to show that he understands where the person is coming from. This helps to build rapport, because the person that he is talking to feels understood. Once this conversational common ground is established, the PUA can then steer the interaction towards the direction that he desires.
For example, when doing a direct approach on a woman, a PUA could start the conversation like this: “I know it’s not normal to go up and talk to strangers on the street, but I just had to come talk to you. My name is _____.” This statement first acknowledges the fact the woman probably feels a little awkward being approached by a stranger, and then leads into a conversation.
Pacing can be used during the middle of a conversation as well. For example, if a conversation lapses into an uncomfortable silence, a PUA can restart the conversation by making a statement such as: “Wow, that was an uncomfortable silence. So where are you from?” This statement again states what the woman is feeling (uncomfortable), then restarts the conversation again with an open ended question.
In NLP, the concept of pacing is taken a step further, so that the PUA actually mirrors the body language and even breathing of the other person to become in tune with what the other person is feeling. Once this deep rapport is established, the PUA then gradually leads the other person into whatever emotional state he wants them to feel.
A good analogy for pacing is running (from which the term likely originates). If someone were to try to slow down a runner who was running very fast, it would be jarring to just suddenly bring them to a stop, and the converse would be true as well for trying to get a slow runner to speed up. A better approach would be to first match the pace of the runner, and then, from there, gradually shift the pace in whatever direction that one wanted. The same idea applies to social interactions.
Try to pace the conversation more, instead of trying to force it where you want to go.
Source: Joe the Pro