The Technique Of Mirroring and Matching


Steven Gillman

The subliminal persuasion technique of "mirroring and matching" is easy to understand. It is simply a way to make a person feel more comfortable and trusting of you. We all feel more comfortable with some people than others, and there are reasons for this that have nothing to do with the character of the people and everything to do with the specific ways that they operate.

I had just one neighbor most of the year when I used to live in a small cabin in Michigan. He was a big friendly guy, and for lack of any other people, we spent quite a bit of time standing out on the road by the beach talking. After a year of this, you might think we got along just fine, and we did, except that we irritated each other. We never said it, but it was obvious that our "styles" clashed.

He talked so slow that it drove me crazy! I am sure that when I rattled on at high-speed it annoyed him as well. We became friends despite this, but can you imagine if when I first met him I was trying to sell him something or persuade him to do something? I would have seemed like the classic fast-talking salesman. Most likely, any efforts at persuasion would have failed.

This is why step number one of the "mirroring and matching" technique of persuasion is to match the pace of your prospect's speech. Talk at the same speed, and people will feel that you are more like them. They will trust you more.

You should also use their words. If they say "I can see how that works" several times, at some point say, "You can see how this works." Pay attention. If they use the words "understand," "hope," or the expression "That makes sense," more than once, use the same words or expressions to persuade them. This is the "matching" part of this persuasion technique.

The "mirroring" part is simply acting, moving and positioning yourself as they do. Be careful not to appear as though you are mimicking the person, but mirror them as much as you can. Sit in the same position, use the same facial expressions. Laugh when they laugh, and if you are really good, laugh the same way.

When done well, you can use this technique to establish rapport quickly and easily with most people. Most people will never notice that you're doing this, but of course don't be too obvious. When you become good at it, the person will just feel that you're a lot like they are, that you can "relate" to them, and they can relate to and trust you. A bond will begin to develop between you.

You can test this bond by "leading." When you think you have established the bond, change your body posture, to see if the person unconsciously does the same. Uncross your legs and see if the prospect does the same, or lean back to see if they follow your lead. If so, they are ready to follow and trust you.

At this point, you continue to mirror and match, but you also start to lead the prospect. You lead him right to the bottom line on the contract, or to whatever action you want him to take. Practice helps, of course, but done properly, this is one of the more powerful persuasion techniques.