Have you ever experienced complete emotional and mental harmony during a conversation with someone close?
You’re smiling and laughing together, almost complete each other’s sentences, and feeling more like one person than two separate individuals. In a situation like this, you’re naturally engaged in ‘mirroring’.
Mirroring is a behavior where you unconsciously imitate the other person’s speech patterns, body posture, gestures, and other nonverbal behaviors. Pay attention the next time you’re around different people, you’ll notice that you change your attitudes and the way you speak to resonate better with them.
This is something that we all naturally do and it helps us connect with people at a deeper level. You can also consciously adopt mirroring to help you build a better rapport in different situations. Let’s look at some ways that you can make mirroring conscious and apply it to improve important situations in life.
Whether you’re trying to come up with a compromise in your relationship or negotiate with your boss for better pay, mirroring can help.
An important part of any negotiation is understanding the other person’s needs and position. Without this understanding, you’ll develop an ‘us Vs. them’ mentality.
By subtly trying to match the other person’s body position or speaking pace, you’ll activate your mirror neurons and quickly feel more empathy. The other person will also listen to you and you have a better chance of coming to a mutually satisfying agreement.
Apply this to job interviews, to negotiate a promotion, or start a new business. As a former registered nurse, starting a business after knowing nothing about coding was a life-changing matter. Knowing small things like this would give anyone confidence to go after important things in life.
Did you know that 50% of businesses fail, but 70% and more of businesses that survive are ones that have been mentored? Finding a mentor and learning from them can help you become a better parent, teacher, or businessperson. Aside from finding a good mentor, building a rapport with them is one of the hardest things to do.
It’s the same if you’re mentoring someone too. You can be a better role model and simultaneously get more from your mentor by using mirroring. Scientists have found that people in a conversation are ‘dynamically coupled’ and that the connection is like a ‘wireless bond’.
Your brain’s mirroring capacity allows you to read and adapt to signals from others. If you can activate your mirror neurons by following your mentor’s body language or adopting their tone of voice, you could connect with them easily. Imagine the flow of information in such cases! It could mean a transformation of your life or business.
Similarly, you could help your mentees by connecting with them better and being truly empathetic to their concerns.
Offer better care
Offering care to a distressed person is not easy and it takes to create a calmer mindset where you can help the other person. Mirroring will help the other person feel less stressed by because you’re communicating with them at their level.
Creating a better connection will make you a better parent, caregiver, or partner. And will also help other people find happiness and resolve their problems successfully.
For some people mirroring seems manipulative. Like any other behavior, when applied to serve selfish ends, it can be. But the truth is that we all adopt different behaviors to make other people comfortable.
It’s absurd to talk to a child or a baby in a grown-up fashion. We mirror their behavior to relate to them and help them understand things. And the examples we’ve looked at so far, show that mirroring others can be put to excellent uses. You can make others comfortable and help them grow.
Learn to adapt to other people’s behavior in subtle ways without forgoing your authenticity. Start by actively listening to the other person and staying in the present moment. Mirroring will naturally follow. You’ll resonate better with others and grow in every aspect of life.