Chasing success? Take a look in the mirror.

5 Workplace Mirroring Scenarios To Use For Success

Through the day-to-day minutiae, a workplace can seem perfunctory, a functional space where 9-to-5ers converge under the company umbrella. But take a closer look and it’s actually its own ecosystem built upon one thing and one thing only: the relationships and behaviors of its constituent parts. With so many conflicting agendas and varied personalities, there is a technique that every member of a company would do well to master: the art of mirroring.

5 Workplace Mirroring Scenarios To Use For Success

What It Is

Mirroring is a social behavior, often unconsciously exhibited, where a person mimics or “mirrors” the behavior or gestures of another. Otherwise known as “limbic synchrony”, mirroring is hardwired into the brain to help establish rapport and connection between social animals.

The idea is that by adopting the body language and postures of another, we gain a deeper insight into another’s perspective or experience. Past a simple, narcissistic need to see our behaviors copied, mirroring shows an implicit willingness of one party’s cooperation with another. Monkeys, humans, best friends, particularly persuasive and charismatic leaders and long-term couples all, in some way, mirror each other to nonverbally signal connection and commonality.

Why It Works

Before you jump to the conclusion that “mirroring” is a subtle form of manipulation, let’s set the record straight: mirroring is about receptivity and establishing common ground. It is absolutely a two-way street (as the name suggests) so it requires the opposite party to meet us halfway and mirror us in return.

Mirror neurons are the components responsible for the behaviour that reflects intentions and feelings in human. These receptors in the brain are the key to understanding how we develop empathy and socialization. It’s precisely why face-to-face marketing is the most persuasive form of salesmanship there is: as researchers have discovered, we interpret and predict others’ behaviors by reading body language signals and facial expressions.

Think about the last time you repeated an order read back to you so you could confirm with someone else and you’ll understand why mirroring works. Mirroring calls for a very subtle but powerful exercise of agreement.

Mirroring In The Workplace AKA “How To Win Friends & Influence People”

1. If You’re A Leader Managing A Team…

Leaders can start using mirroring to manage team members, subtly steering the direction of discussions or providing a sense of strength, trust and support.

When interacting with members, mirror neutrons fire in the mind of a leader as emotions and expressions flit across team members’ faces.
You can use this recognition and display similar emotions or gestures to nonverbally signal that you will take the feelings and thoughts of those around you under consideration. That’s the mark of a true leader.

2. If You’re Part of a Team Giving a Presentation…

If you’re part of a team giving a presentation, practice more than just your speaking points: get detailed, down to your very gestures and postures. When the main presenter shifts positions, the rest of the team members should as well. Mirroring also helps convey a sense of a “united front”, making a team feel more cohesive and stronger. Get ready to nail that presentation.

3. If You’re Trying to Defuse A Tricky Situation…

Sometimes, people just want to be heard and, in an office setting, it can get stressful trying to maintain professionalism with personal conviction.

The next time you’re at the receiving end of some heat or you sense that an impending quarrel is about to hit land, use mirroring to interface with the incensed party.

Observe the postures, language and gestures of the opposite party. Then, when you’re responding, keep your voice calm, your words bracing but mirror one or two gestures exactly.

Chances are, you’ll help them blow off some steam.

4. For Pitching (or Convincing) A Hesitant Client…

Because mirroring is all about embodying empathy and establishing a rapport, you can use your observations of the behavior of a hesitant client in your persuasion arsenal.
Mirroring goes a long way in reducing anxiety, building trust and mitigating resistance. If a client has a particular “pain point”, address it with logical words but mirror a few gestures to help build a sense of familiarity.

5. If You’re Trying to Understand What’s NOT Working…

How do you know when mirroring is working as you’re communicating? Observation and reflexive consideration, of course!

If there are only one or two interlocutors, and you’re mirroring them, once you switch positions, they should eventually (and unconsciously) be doing the same. It’s less about monkey-see, monkey-do and more about knowing that you have managed to subtly pull them onto your turf.

So if you don’t see mirroring, change tracks.

About the Author:

Sarah MerekarSarah Merekar is primarily a storyteller who loves to work with and in several different mediums, on various platforms and see how these co-exist and complement each other. She loves hacking product sales and understanding how content creation has an effect on this process. The content she creates for clients is high quality, highly tailored, and on brand, specifically in the form of digital & brand copywriting, design and video.

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