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What Is Mirroring?

People, no matter how similar, are very different from one another. In the course of verbal communication—both oral and written—one has to navigate through multiple barriers, cross countless bridges to reach the person on the other end. People at times find it difficult to talk to somebody, to confide in somebody. Some people feel uncomfortable sharing certain types of information. This can be caused by a number of things—lack of trust, rapport or confidence. How can one learn to cross these hurdles? There are many techniques that scientists and behavior experts have found over the years. One of them, considered a key technique in various psychological or talk therapy interventions, is ‘mirroring’. 

Read on to learn more about what is mirroring and how it can be used in communication 

In simple words, mirroring can be described as an act of imitating verbal as well as non-verbal behaviors of another person. Human beings unconsciously mimic or mirror certain behaviors of people they are surrounded by or people they like, love, or respect. This can mean picking out some statements, some intonations, some postures, or even a certain way to pronounce certain words. It brings them closer to the person they feel affectionate about. If done consciously, this technique can be used as an excellent tool to build rapport and strong interpersonal  relationships. In fact, this technique can be used by anybody. Business people can use it to display warmth, character, and understanding. Professionals can use it to ensure a sense of trust, honesty, and empathy. Let us look at a few ways to use the power of mirroring in day-to-day communication. 

When it comes to mirroring, it is always best to start with adjusting the pace and the volume.

As we know, humans tend to pay more attention and remember more vividly the non-verbal aspects of any communication. One remembers how the other person was talking, what was their tone like, what gestures did they make. Mirroring techniques are used to build trust by ensuring the other part that one’s intentions are friendly in nature. One can start this process by matching the pace and volume of the other party. This can help the person understand the speakers’ emotional state. By matching the pace, one can ensure that another person has a reasonable amount of time to think to adjust to the conscious flow. Volume speaks, well, volumes when it comes to communication. By matching the other person’s volume, one can assure them of the same intensity one is feeling too. 

One should be careful, however, of not imitating the other person in any wrong way. Mirroring techniques only work if one is careful enough. If the other person finds out the efforts, they are bound to feel more self-conscious, hurt, and even offended. One must not imitate any behavior that might seem to be making fun of the other person. It is alright to mirror the sitting posture of another person to ensure the same energy in the room. However, it would be ill-advised to mirror a person’s accent or verbal inflections. Out of all the elements of communication, empathy is one of the greatest ones. By mirroring, one should extend a warm hand, a feeling that they can understand the other person, feel with them, and support them. 

Mirroring is an important skill in the art of communication. It needs to be learned and exercised carefully. If done incorrectly, the impact on the relationship between two parties can be straining. One can learn about these techniques in detail in various personality development courses. They can be a great tool for businessmen and corporate employees. Used correctly, they can ensure increased goodwill and build trusting relationships.

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