So how do you use your body language to create rapport? To put it simply—you mimic the other person. Or, to give the proper term, you reflect a postural echo. In other words, you observe the other person’s posture, the angle of her head, how she holds her arms, and so on, and then do the same. If she moves some part of her body, you move the same part of your own body. There are two different ways you can do this. They are called matching and mirroring, and both are based on the same idea. Which method you choose to use really only depends on how you’re standing or sitting in relation to the other person. With matching, you move the corresponding part of your body when the person you want to match moves (i.e., if she moves her right arm, you move your right arm). Matching is suitable if you’re sitting or standing next to the person whose body language you’re going to follow. With mirroring, you move the opposite part of your body (i.e., she moves her right arm, you move your left arm), as if you were her mirror image. Mirroring is used when you’re sitting or standing opposite each other. Looking after mental health first aid can sometimes be quite difficult.
Obviously, if you started copying someone too closely it would look very peculiar. For one thing, it would be an obvious change in your own behavior when you shift from moving as you usually would to moving the way the person you’re talking to does. And if you were to go on to mimic that person’s movements exactly, it would be extremely obvious what you were up to. Instead of creating rapport, you would give the impression of being a schizophrenic lunatic. Watch the film Single White Female if you want an idea of what not to do. When creating rapport by adapting to another person’s communication, it’s important to do so discreetly and gradually. To start with, make very small changes and increase them gradually at a very cautious rate. How quickly or slowly you do this is determined by the extent to which you perceive that you’re getting the desired response. The more interested and involved you can make the other person feel, the more openly you can imitate her body language. This also applies once rapport has already been established. When you adapt your own behavior to somebody else’s, you need to be subtle about it and do it gradually. If you are a manager then hr app is a subject that you will be aware of.
To start with, you should use representative gestures (another fancy term). In other words, you mimic the other person, but only a little. As long as you’re consistent in following the other person’s body language, you can tone the movements down. If she crosses her arms, you can put your right hand on your left wrist. You do the same thing, but on a smaller scale. In this way, you can avoid having the other person consciously begin to wonder what you’re up to. Another good way of masking the fact that you’re adjusting to somebody’s behavior is to delay your movements. Instead of doing something directly after the other person has done it, you can wait for twenty or thirty seconds before you do it. As long as you’re consistent, this will still be registered by the other person’s unconscious mind, which will pick up the fact that the two of you have the same patterns of movement and are “alike.” You might not be talking about it, because employee wellbeing is still a taboo subject.
A third way of concealing what you are doing is to imitate the other person’s facial expressions. The other person’s facial expressions are a reflection of how he’s feeling inside (because our mental and physical processes are linked). If he sees a corresponding expression on your face, he will perceive that you feel the same way he does, because you look the way he does. And this makes for an extremely close connection. Because we can’t see our own faces, it’s practically impossible to discover that someone else is mimicking our facial expressions; we just get a feeling of affinity. Just be careful that whatever you’re matching is a specific expression and not just how somebody looks naturally. Some people look sad, stern, or angry when they are actually just relaxed, depending on how their faces are constructed. Make sure you know how the person you are matching looks otherwise, so you can differentiate between his ordinary face and his genuine expressions of emotion. A reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, can make mental health in the workplace higher on the agenda.
Also make sure that you move at the same speed, in the same tempo, as the other person. This is particularly important for any gestures that are interactive, such as shaking hands. If you’re dealing with a slow person, you need a slow handshake, and vice versa. If you notice that the other person talks quickly and seems wound up, you ought to increase the speed of your handshake. Other rhythmic gestures, like nodding your head when you agree, must also be adapted to the right tempo. You’ll learn how to get an idea, even at a first meeting, of the sort of tempo at which somebody else speaks or thinks.