Using Matching and Mirroring When Meeting New People

From an NLP perspective, when you meet someone new, think about the matching and mirroring of your body language. If you want to create a good first impression, rapport is absolutely essential. Now rapport is all about us liking people that are like ourselves. We connect with them much more easily and more naturally and because you don’t necessarily know this person’s history, you don’t know about their hobbies and interests, there’s a better way of being able to get rapport with them. On the basis that the majority of our communication, fifty five percent comes through our body language, our body language is the best way to gain that rapport and the way we do this in NLP is using a tool called matching and mirroring.

What this means is that you copy some of the gestures and some of the physical observations that you make about the person you’re communicating with. So, if you notice, for example, that they tap their finger gently on their knee whilst they’re talking and then pause when it’s your turn to talk, you could perhaps be tapping your finger or tapping your foot whilst you’re talking and then pause when it’s their turn to talk. If you notice that they, for example, lean over on one side then you too can move yourself into a posture where you are leaning over to one side.

Remember you need to be subtle about this. You don’t want to come across as weird and just outright copying them but it is a great way to be able to get rapport. The more subtle you can be the better, so if you can match and mirror things like breathing and blinking rates, that’s much more effective than some of the bigger gestures.

However most of us perhaps cross our legs when we sit down so if you notice that their legs crossed then you do the same. If they uncross legs, you can leave a few seconds and then you can uncross legs too. So, the difference between matching and mirroring isn’t all that great. Mirroring simply means that you are copying as if you were looking in the mirror so if they are right hand raised then if you are facing them you would be left hand raised, because that would be like a mirror image.

Matching means if they were sitting opposite you and they had their right hand raised, you would have your right hand raised, so you would be opposites to each other as you were looking at each other. However, they both appear to be just as effective as each other.

These skills are taught at our Hertfordshire and North London Clinic by our trained therapists.

I remember when I was working as a Nursery Manager for a large private day nursery corporation and I interviewed a nursery nurse. It makes me laugh thinking about it now – I interviewed a nursery nurse who wanted to work in our baby room. One of the things that we did in the baby room was something called ‘floor play’ which is when you have lots of different activities, but they’re all set out on the floor because they are for babies.

And this nursery nurse that came to see me was very keen on making a good first impression. She was neat and tidy. She had revised her C.V. really well she knew all about the technical stuff in terms of looking after babies and she was coming across as very confident. In fact, if I remember correctly she was coming for a supervisor’s job so I think she was trying extra hard.

Now this was one of those situations where I really had to kind of bite my lip for the rest of the interview because I was very close to laughing my head off. The question I asked her was “which particular activity do you most like to do with the babies in the baby room” and her answer was “I really like to do foreplay”. Instead of floor play.

So, she went bright red and I just bit my lip and pretended that I hadn’t noticed. Here’s the thing if you get your words in a muddle, apologise and carry on. If it’s something like that then I think as long as the person that you are trying to make a good impression with has got a sense of humour, it would be okay to have a giggle about it, but watch out for their reaction before you decide how to address it.

The Hypnotherapy and NLP clinic in Hertfordshire and North London can help you to learn the skills of effective rapport building just a few sessions. Just give us a call to find out more.



By Gemma Bailey