Ever notice you tend to gravitate towards people that are just like you? We all do. It’s a natural mechanism built into all of us. It’s part of a technique called “mirroring and matching”. Most times we use this technique without even realizing it. We use it in all facets of our our lives.
Take notice the next time you’re in a debate with a friend or family member. When faced with a back and forth communication we’ll tend to act like the person we’re talking to in the hopes that we’ll make our point across, or potentially sway the person to agree with you.
Now, I’m certainly not some social scientist that can spit out what your right hemisphere is doing the first time you meet another person. But there’s plenty of proof I can offer from 15 years of sales in auto dealerships – I know, I was the dreaded car salesman. In fact I made quite a living by learning to strip away the taboo that my customers faced. They loathed the fact of having to buy a car because they had to sit with me first.
I also dreaded each and every qualifying conversation. Once I learned about “mirroring and matching” it totally changed the game. Here’s how it works:
When you’re across the table from someone having an interactive conversation start to mirror their actions. If they are sitting back relaxed and comfortable, do the same. If they’re speaking very soft and rhythmic, return your answers the same way. Over the course of a few minutes you’ll start to notice that the conversation is moving along smoothly. What’s happening behind the scenes is that the their brain is slowly moving away from protective mode and becoming more comfortable because it recognizes similar characteristics and understands that it can feel safe.
This technique is not a new. In fact, It was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder back in the 1970’s. The idea is that people feel most comfortable around those who are like them. It has become widely used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. You know where else it works extremely well? JOB INTERVIEWS!
That’s right! If you’re in an interview mirroring and matching the person who is interviewing you, you’re going to increase your chances of landing that role significantly. Now, that’s not to say that if you mimic your interviewer that’s all you need to do. Of course your conversation has to be contextually relevant, but that’s an article for another time. But, it’s important.
Remember when I told you about adopting this technique when I was selling cars? After using this same skill, I sold the most Chevy Corvettes in one month… Nationally. I’ve also taught this strategy to my coaching clients that have landed senior positions at Google, Capital One, BMW and many more. It’s one of the simplest and most overlooked tools in your belt as a job seeker. Have fun with it.