Like attracts like! You’ve heard that countless times no doubt, but what exactly does it mean?
What I want to bring your attention is not new, but it is really important. People that are alike; like each other. Sure you heard that opposites attract, and it’s in many ways true, but for two people to work, be it friends, business partners, or have a relationship, there has to be a lot of common ground. I’m talking about their beliefs; their views on the world. What they have inside their mind, what makes them who they are can be seen on the external by the way that they act and behave.
A person that isn’t afraid of trying new things and failing; will take risks in their life. A person that’s fascinated by the world and likes to learn new things will be inquisitive. A person that believes he has seen a lot of life; will move in a slow manner. Our beliefs about the world will be projected to others by the way we act. The risk taker may move fast, and be assertive. The curious individuals may lean in a lot during a conversation and be very talkative. The person bored with life may come off as relaxed or lazy.
Now whether these people are aware or not, they will tend to see similarities and connect better with those individuals that display similar characteristics as them. They will then surround themselves with those friends that hold similar views, and therefore communicate those views outwards in a similar way!
The heuristic: ‘Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are’ couldn’t be any more true.
So now that we have established our guiding principle; that like attracts like, let’s look into how you can communicate that you similar to the person you want to ‘click’ with:
First it’s important to remember that a very big part of our communication is non-verbal. 55% in fact! The other 38% represents our tonality; the volume, pace, and infliction we use, leaving only 7% for the words we use! So to create a connection with an individual, it’s not so much what we say, it’s how we say things, and how we carry ourselves when conversing.
Rapport then has 4 stages:
That’s the exact copy of someone’s body language and voice, and it is very annoying when you know that someone is mimicking you. When people do it, it comes off as disrespectful and irritating. It’s only mentioned here so that you can remember to avoid it.
Mirroring is a bit more sophisticated. It is a process by which you adapt someone’s body language and energy. Try to move like they move; paying attention to their posture, gestures, and how they carry themselves. Mirror only a few of those things, because if you mirror all, you’ll just be mocking!
Try to copy even more than just body language. Here you can focus on the other 45% of communication. Ever notice how some subcultures like skaters, bikers, rappers, dancers, etc., have their own movements and lingo? This is what you match to be ‘one of their own‘. Match the words people use, the vocal tone, speech rate, facial expressions, eye contact, and even things like head tilt and blinking rate. The goal here is to match those behaviors that are outside of our conscious awareness. The more you match, the stronger the rapport; i.e. the connection! Just think of a couple walking down the street; ever notice how they seem to walk at the same pace? Move in the same way? That only happens when individuals are in deep rapport.
Once you establish that strong connection, you can take the person from where they were to where you’d like them to go. Make the person you’re with more energetic and ready for action when you add more energy to your own movement. This is what many stage performers do. You’ll find that motivational speakers, priests, and magicians for example, start at the same level of energy as the audience; matching them, connecting with them, only to speed up and increase the energy of their performance. The crowd, after connecting with the performer then follows his pace.
Rapport is a very powerful tool that can help you connect with any individual, and is worth spending the time to learn. The best way of course to acquire it, is through practice, but if you feel you are not ready to practice, at least start by observing some things that you haven’t before in the people you see around you, and in the people you communicate with. Try to see how energetic they are, how loud they talk, how quickly they move, how they breathe, and even if you choose not to mirror them, you will definitely learn things about those people that you otherwise wouldn’t have!
Thank you very much for reading, enjoy your new discoveries!