An effective way to build rapport is to subtly
match the other person’s body language, such as their posture, breathing rate
and gestures. If they lean back, for instance, you might subtly do the same a moment
You might even mirror their actions. If they tilt
their head to the left, you might tilt your head to the right. Before long they
will start to feel there is something about you they like, and they will find it
easy to talk with you. Only mirror what feels natural to you, though, and don’t
mimic, just get into the flow with them. At the same time, keep your own body
language congruent with what you’re saying.
Being subtle is the key when you are matching or
mirroring another’s gestures to create a rapport.
Three facts about
body language and non-verbal communication
It is present
in so much of our communication every day; even on the phone you can send a
message with the tone of your voice.
conscious of it you become, the better you can use your body language to
connect with others and the more clearly you will be able to read the messages from
other people’s body language.
is subjective; you need to look for more than one signal most of the time to,
for example, truly gauge the other person’s interest or lack of it.
Body language can mean different things to
different people. Crossing your arms could mean that you are blocking the other
person; that you may not like what they are saying, or that you don’t buy into
their message. Even holding a folder to your chest can create a block between
you and the other person, although you might not realise it. Crossing your arms
can show that you are drawing away and becoming disengaged. Or you might simply
feel cold, tired or uncomfortable. You might even be giving yourself a nice
hug. If you are talking to a room of people and all their arms are crossed then
check – is the room freezing or are you boring them all? Researchers have
claimed that when you create a block in front of your body 30 per cent of
information or more will be blocked coming through. Don’t forget, if a listener remembers only 7
per cent of any conversation after two weeks they have heard itCK1 BM2 , then blocking information will make them remember
even less. Stay open and allow information and opportunities to flow through. At
a networking event are you more likely to walk up to someone who crosses their arms
or someone with their arms uncrossed? The person with their arms crossed might be
comfortable but it does not make them seem approachable and it doesn’t make
others feel comfortable. If you are an arm crosser, stop doing it!
With so many messages being read from one gesture,
you can see why you always need to be conscious of your body language and how
others might interpret it. You often have to make a quick assessment of your
body language and tweak or change it to suit the situation and the message you
want to give.
As our gestures can be read in many different ways,
here are some body language do’s and don’ts you should be aware of:
physical contact with people you know well, otherwise just shake hands or touch
them on the elbow. The elbow is the trust zone – you can touch someone there to
lead them or to show a connection, but that’s only with someone who you feel
will respond to touch and when it is culturally acceptable.
If you want to
point to something in a way that is inviting, do so with your arm stretched out
and the inside of the arm showing and palm facing up. This is a comfortable,
gentle movement and is often used on game shows to show contestants what they
may win and where they should move to. Pointing with your finger, palm turned
down and with the outside of your arm showing is more direct and telling, and
people find this forceful and may choose not to listen.
something, reach out your arm and wave the open palm.
of the power in your movements. If you look down while talking with someone or
when giving a presentation, you have lost the power because it can seem as if
you don’t know what you are talking about; that you are looking for an answer;
or that you are weak. This movement can also cause your hair to fall forward
and then you might touch your face or shake your hair back in place. That can
be distracting and lose the listener all together.
back of your neck shows you were just asked a painful question or that the
other person is worrying you – giving you a pain in the neck.
Touching your hair
can be a sexy come-on, or it can show you are anxious and that will make the
other person feel anxious too.
Looking past the
person you are speaking with will communicate disinterest or arrogance, and the
fact that you want to move on.
Glancing at a clock
or watch during a meeting or conversation makes everyone feel uncomfortable. For
the person looking at the clock it is interpreted as ‘I have to get out of here. I’m not listening to you anymore’,
because once someone starts looking at a clock they are no longer listening.
And everyone else will start to think, ‘Quick,
we’re on a deadline.’
Fidgeting can show
that you are nervous, anxious, uncomfortable or bored. It can also indicate
that you are feeling pain, for example, if you don’t know the answers to
questions being asked of you, or if you think you have lost control of a
situation or said the wrong thing.
We all use gestures such as these, often before we say
even one word. And as you can see, they convey many different meanings, whether
that was the intention or not.
Consider how the people around you will read your
body language and gestures. Sometimes we do something that makes us feel good
but it makes others uncomfortable. If that is the case it is not creating an
equal footing between everyone and you won’t create win–win opportunities. Be
conscious and aware of yourself and then connect with others. Think, ‘Why am I crossing my arms? What will it make
other people think? Why am I doing this or that?’ Soon it will become second
nature but first you need to achieve conscious competence with your gestures.
is written in a way that makes me sound like you’ve already given us this
information (‘Don’t forget’) but I don’t think you have? Apologies if I’m wrong
here… Again, I think if you’re using specific percentages such as these you
should state which study came to this conclusion.
BM2we can research
tells us as below quite interesting I can’t believe that all the rearch done in the first
place a few years ago cannot be found now! Maybe im having a bad day on google!
Institute of attention rates are now saying only 5% of what you
hear (as in a lecture hearing only one way communication)