The most popular way to create rapport is to use mirroring and
matching. This technique copies a naturally occurring process. When
you observe two people who are in love you will see that their
movements almost copy each other’s. They often ‘finish each other’s
When it is taught, one is encouraged to mirror the
movements and behaviour of the person with whom they are
communicating. If they are seated opposite a person and the person
moves their left hand, then the student subtly moves their right
hand. If the head is tilted to the right, the student tilts their head to
the left. In this way a person is almost seeing a reflection of
themselves in the student.
This process is developed in ever greater detail. So the student will
notice the rate and depth of breathing of the subject. They will notice
the movement of the diaphragm and match it. As the breathing is
matched it makes it easier to match the rates of speaking.
The matching process is extended to the speech patterns being used
by the subject. So the words and sentence structure is also matched.
If the subject expresses themselves in a certain way then the student
states their ideas using the language of the subject.
When all the mirroring and matching techniques are combined they
are very powerful. The subject is being ‘hit’ at many non-verbal
levels by congruent communications. This is the 93 per cent of
communication identified by Mehrabian. When the subject senses
that the person that they are speaking to is like them then they are
more likely to trust them. They are more likely to suspend their
critical faculties and act ‘on trust’.