John Grinder and Richard Bandler developed the concept of “mirror and matching.” The idea is to align your movements and body image with your prospect’s demeanor. The goal is to mirror or reflect their actions, not to imitate them. If people think you are imitating them, they may feel like you’re mocking them and they may become offended. They will see you as phony and no longer trust you. Instead of directly imitating, just mirror or match the overall tone and demeanor of your prospect. You can safely mirror things such as language, posture, gestures, and mood.
When you mirror your prospects, you build rapport with them. Because of your similar demeanors, your prospects will feel a connection with you. Remember, people are inclined to follow and obey those they perceive as similar to themselves. If they shift in their posture, you should eventually do so, too. If they cross their legs, you should cross your legs as well. If they smile, you smile too. When you do this, your prospects will subconsciously feel that you have much more in common with them than is actually the case.
We often unconsciously mirror others, without even realizing it. It is just a natural thing that we do. Have you ever noticed at social gatherings how people tend to match each other in their body language and their attitudes? For example, when two people greet each other, they typically tend to use the same posture and behave with the same demeanor. When you are a Master Persuader, you will make skillful and conscientious use of mirroring.
You will be amazed at the effectiveness of using vocabulary or “lingo” similar to that of your prospect. Pick up on and use some of the words or phrases that your prospect uses. You may also find it helpful to mirror his rate of speech. If he speaks in a slower and more relaxed tone, you can do the same. Nevertheless, be sure to keep the enthusiasm high. If he speaks quickly, feel free to do the same.
See if you can adopt the same breathing pattern as your prospect. In doing so, it is helpful to observe the rise and fall of your prospect’s chest or shoulders for cues. Of course, use your peripheral vision to do this so you are always maintaining eye contact. Synchronized breathing between you and your prospect is such a subtle thing, yet people really pick up on it.
This is different from matching language. It refers to the actual tone or inflection of your prospect’s voice. Be very careful, however, that you do not come across as mimicking. The “mirrored” voice you use should never be so different or foreign from your own that you arouse suspicion. Just minor and subtle adjustments in tone are all that are necessary to get the desired results.
When you reflect your prospect’s mood, you give validation to what he is saying and feeling. We often verbally mirror another’s mood by restating what he or she just said: “So, what I hear you saying is…” or “I think I would feel that way too, if I also experienced….” Be sure when you mirror your prospect’s mood that your tone is very sincere. Your persuasive power increases when you sincerely acknowledge your prospect’s comments, concerns, and feelings.
Matching Energy Level
Some people always seem to be relaxed and mellow. Others seem to be constantly active or vivacious. Seek to mirror your prospect’s energy level. This will be another subtle way you are in sync with your prospect.
As you study persuasion, you must realize that connecting with your audience is critical. Many persuaders don’t know how to maintain that rapport throughout the entire persuasive situation. You see people in sales break the ice, find similarities, build rapport for the first five minutes, and then launch into their presentation. All of a sudden, they get serious and change their demeanor. What is the prospect going to think? The person he has been talking to for the past five minutes has now changed. Which one is the real person? The two were getting along, having fun, and all of a sudden, without warning, the salesperson becomes serious and dives into a sales pitch. This breaks rapport and seems incongruent to the prospect. You both know why you are there and what the ultimate goal will be, so continue to build on that rapport.
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Certainly, there are occasions when you may not want to mirror someone else. For example, a lawyer will often seek to create anxiety or uneasiness in a witness. To accomplish this, the lawyer needs to avoid mirroring. While the witness is slumped back in the seat looking at the ground, the lawyer may hover or stand rigidly and look intensely at the witness’s face. Have you ever experienced the awkwardness of glancing at your watch when you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone and they notice? “Breaking the mirror” breaks the synchronization that makes everyone feel calm and comfortable. If you need to break the mirror, simply stop mirroring and sit, speak, or gesture differently from the person you’re dealing with.
Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade.