The Value of Matching and Pacing Belief Systems in Group Training

By Rehana Webster

To increase ones effectiveness while delivering training, I find the skill of matching and mirroring the group’s collective belief system is very helpful.

It will deepen rapport with the group and allow the participants to feel understood at a deep level and therefore more open to new ideas and practicing newly acquired skills.

I use a pre-workshop questionnaire, which allows me to gather information about the group.  I can make the questionnaire flexible and change it to suit my needs and gather the type of information I feel would help me help my students best.

Included in the questionnaire are details such as age, education, affiliations, clubs, hobbies, reading preferences, etc.  This gives me a bird’s eye view into the audience.  I can pick out the shared common beliefs and apply them in the learning experience.

For example I had a group of people whom I trained in EFT Level 1.  I had found out that they belonged to the same Church group.  This gave me the opportunity to embed my language with the appropriate language and more importantly to use biblical metaphors in the delivery and examples of the EFT teaching.

It was a joy to watch, as the examples were so meaningful to this group.  It resounded well with their deeply held beliefs and ethos in general.

I intertwined the biblical stories of the prodigal son, the Good Samaritan and the utmost importance of building our homes on solid foundations!  And how EFT would with persistence clears up old and rotten foundations.

Other methods I used were direct quotes from the New Testament.  Teachings of Jesus were liberally quoted especially around judgement and blame.  One of my favorite metaphors is the ‘casting pearls before swine’ and the ‘getting the mote out of one’s own eye first’.

When I work with let’s say, scientific types like nurses, doctors, or engineers, then I use relevant metaphors.  For instance when working with engineers, I have used language they would be comfortable with.  I talk about building bridges, earthworks, dams, structures, steel density and strength, wind velocity, etc.

The more information one can gather about the audience the more chance of successfully building rapport with the group.

If the group is mixed, there is always some common belief you can find and work with.  Sometimes there may be opposing or several beliefs.  Use them all.  Expand your training skills and knowledge, and have fun!


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