There is a myth in teaching people rapport that seems persist…

That is, if you want to get in rapport (the precursor to creating a meaningful connection, get the person to “like” or agree with you, etc) with someone you need to somehow mimic that persons body posture and movement: If they cross their legs, you cross your legs, if they fold their arms, you fold your arms, if they pick their nose you pick your nose…

This belief was born out of a study done by social psychologists who noticed that people who were in rapport tended to match each others body movements. This led to the hypotheses that if you matched the persons body postures it artificially accelerates this process.

This has since been shown to be not exactly true…

Body matching is an excellent indicator of rapport, but not a great facilitator of it. In fact, it often has the opposite effect and can be jarring and distracting to the person you are attempting to gain rapport with.

But there is still a place for matching and mirroring in rapport creation and this is to match and mirror the persons interpretation, or “map”, of reality.

For those of you not overly well versed in the principles of NLP there is a saying that “the map is not the territory”. Which is sort of the first commandment of NLP, as if it was written on the back of the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. What this means is that, through or experiences and interpretation of those experience, we create our own “map” of the world around us, we use this to navigate our way around (we often confuse this “map” for “reality”, hence the reminder that it isn’t).

Everyone’s “map” has a different structure and people give away their map of the world in the words they use, the the gestures and eye movements that they do and the tone, speed and rate at which they speak and some other things (but these are key ones).

To create rapport these are what you want to match, pace and mirror. Offer back the words they use, copy the speed and rate at which they speak, repeat specific gestures that they use when they are..