“John” and “Nancy” were seated at their restaurant table. John was trying to tell Nancy why he had come home an hour late from the gym and had not let her know he was going to be late.
Nancy wasn’t impressed with the conversation and folded her arms. John, seeing he was not being believed, became louder and more aggressive in order to get his message across.
Nancy felt attacked and, not liking conflict, began to emotionally and physically withdraw.
Not getting the response he was after, John leant across the table and said some harsh words.
This caused Nancy to withdraw even more.
A nice meal at a restaurant has now turned into a silent dinner.
When we want to connect with someone, there are a number of ways of achieving this.
Becoming aggressive is certainly not one. This is the ego saying John has to be right.
A great way to connect is mirroring.
Next time you are speaking with someone face-to-face, do two things:
1. Do the opposite to them.
If they lean forward, you lean back. If they speak loudly, you speak softly.
Note their reaction to what you do.
2. Mirror them.
Do exactly what they do. If they lean forward, you lean forward. If they speak softly, you speak softly. If they pick up their drink, you pick up yours. Make sure what you are doing is not obvious.
Note their reaction.
Just as we like people who have a similar opinion to us, we also like people who we feel can relate to us. This creates rapport.
According to Anthony Robbins, “Rapport is created by a feeling of commonality”.
The more you have in common with the person, the more they will be able to relate to you.
Words by themselves do not create rapport. Rapport is also created by your tone of voice, volume and tempo (talking fast or slow), touch, using the same words, gestures, eye contact and facial expressions.
For John to have a rapport with Nancy, he needs to mirror what she is doing. He has to connect visually, show her he is interested in what she has to say, speak with the same volume, tempo and tone of voice.
This will show her John can relate to her and how she feels.
John could also ask questions to find out exactly what troubles her. This shows he cares.
Nancy then says “I am angry you didn’t phone me. You said you would be home at 6 and didn’t get home till 7. You didn’t answer your phone and I was worried something had happened.”
John could respond “I really appreciate you worrying about me. I would be worried if you were late and I couldn’t contact you. If I am going to be late, I will always ring you and let you know.”
Nancy is now happy and they can enjoy their meal together.
Exercise: Watch people communicate and see if you can pick if they mirroring each other. Watch the response they receive when they are mirroring and when they are not.