When should you Match and Mirror body language?
Yesterday I was on HLN news talking about the effects of the Texas campus shooting. When there is a dangerous situation and people are afraid the group will tend to match and mirror that fear. This basic survival instinct allowed danger to be committed to the tribe. So I always teach that you must mirror with integrity for your sake and for the sake of the person you are empathizing with. You may have crossed your legs to match your best friend’s seating position or leaned in close as your sweetie and noticed that they did the same, using matching and mirroring to get close. . Whether you realize you’re doing it or not, subtly mimicking people in social settings helps you form bonds and establish connections. Mirroring—copying a person’s looks, gestures and general body language is especially effective on job interviews and dates or when we're in other SNAP first impressions (http://www.snapfirstimpressions.com) settings when you are trying to establish a rapport and develop trust.
While this unconscious activity has its benefits—imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all—new research reveals that unchecked mirroring can backfire.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.