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Mirror and match (but not too much)

By on September 17, 2014

Mirroring and matching refers to the NLP technique of matching your hypnosis client’s posture, gestures, breathing and other behaviors in order to increase rapport. In our NLP classes we teach rapport in two ways, the first using mirroring and matching, and the second using unconscious rapport based on use of the ‘coaching state’ or H+ state.

Our students often report back after they have experienced the mirroring and matching exercises that the rapport felt ‘forced’. Some of those who were being mirrored report that they actually feel les rapport when someone is mirroring and matching them

Why is this?

Research (see below) indicates that rapport may be increased or decreased by mirroring and matching. Whether or not mirroring and matching increases or decreases rapport depends upon the level of mirroring and matching compared to an unconscious expectation of the ‘correct’ level of mirroring and matching.

So what is this unconscious expectation? After all, if we understand exactly what this ‘expected’ level of mirroring and matching is, then we can mirror and match just enough to build rapport, but not too much so as the break rapport. Right? As it turns out, the level of mirroring and matching required to build rapport depends on a subtle mix of racial, cultural, and functional contexts, and also the personalities of the participants. It is utterly impossible to know precisely how much to mirror and match.

At least consciously.

Unconsciously we are al capable or mirroring and matching the exactly the ‘appropriate’ extent.  Most of us do it all the time., it’s called unconscious rapport.

So this is the rapport skill we teach on our NLP course:

  • Enter the coaching state (peripheral vision with a positive internal representation of your hypnosis client)
  • Mirror or match your client’s physiology
  • Now forget about it!
  • Occasionally check back in to see if you and your client are still mirroring and matching each other
  • If you are, all is well and good. If not, step back and consider what is happening in the interaction

Studies demonstrated that it was not the amount of mimicry per se that moderated felt coldness; rather, felt coldness was moderated by the inappropriateness of the mimicry given implicit standards set by individual differences (Study 2) and racial differences (Study 3). You Give Me the Chills

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