The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

It’s Not Who You Know… Part 2

Posted by jamesseetoo on June 26, 2009


Since we’ve established that Rapport is a key aspect of separating you from the crowd, how do you take this to the next step?

So by now you’ve ideally had your initial phone interview and you’ve matched the interviewer’s verbal speed and tone, had a great conversation and were invited to an on site interview.  No? Well maybe not yet since Part 1 only came out a few days ago.  At least I hope you’ve started playing around with matching speed and tone just to get the hang of it and see how it works.  Well, in the meantime let’s explore the second Key to building Rapport.  Now remember, although this communication strategy is aimed at interviewing, it’s really something that should become part of the way you communicate with everyone.

I had a comment from Irwin Hirsch about the last post asking how this works with non-English speakers.  Because this is part of non-verbal communication it creates a bridge regardless of language.

Key #2 Physical Matching and Mirroring

While you should continue to match the interviewer’s verbal speed and tone, in order to build deeper rapport we’ll move on to Physical Matching and Mirroring, an NLP technique that is used to quickly build rapport. Since about half our communications is through body language according to Mehrabian’s communication study, Matching and Mirroring is a subtle way of communicating that we’re on the same wavelength.

The key here is to match the interviewer’s posture.  In other words, if the interviewer is sitting with his arms crossed, cross your arms as well.  If he shifts, to lean to his right, lean to your left, mirroring his posture.  The key here is to wait approximately 3-5 seconds before moving to mirror the posture.

This is something that happens naturally when people are in Rapport.  What we’re doing here is directing the Rapport process to make it happen on demand rather than waiting for it to possibly happen. Take a look around you when you’re in a public place.  You’ll notice when people are in Rapport.  They will be matching and mirroring each others’ postures and body language.  It’s really something we take for granted but when you become aware of it, you’ll see it all around you.

Now you might ask, what happens when the other person says: “Why the hell are you imitating me?”

First let me say this – YOU WON’T GET CAUGHT!  YOU NEVER GET CAUGHT!

Now, I’m not saying that if someone yawns, you should yawn back.  That would be ridiculous.  Nor should you gesture while the other person is gesturing.  But if a person gestures while speaking you can certainly use similar gestures when you speak.

That being said, I’m sure it’s still in the back of your mind, “What if I get caught?”

Well here’s my favorite answer from Kenrick Cleveland, one of the real masters of NLP.  Kenrick recommends replying: “I was going to ask you the same thing.  Isn’t that weird?”

So here’s an exercise for you.

Start with postures.  If you’re sitting opposite someone, mirror that person’s posture.  Take note of the feeling that you get inside yourself – I find that there’s a feeling of closeness to the other person.  On the “woo-woo” level, there’s an energy exchange and notice the other person’s reaction. Once you get used to doing this it becomes very natural and as it becomes more natural, it becomes more subtle.  That is, if someone is sitting with her legs crossed, you might then cross your arms.

When you’re sitting next to someone then match that person’s posture rather than mirror it.

If you can find a partner to work with, great start with that.  Otherwise, just go out and play with it.  You’ll be surprised at the results.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,

James Seetoo

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