“NLP is an attitude and a methodology that leaves behind a trail of techniques.”
- Richard Bandler
Hey, Max here from The Coaching Room. Thanks for checking out my latest article.
Once you’ve read it I hope that these tips and techniques will provide you with some meaningful action points to quickly create rapport with others, enhance your relationships, develop your emotional intelligence (EQ) and hence the quality of your own life as you have a greater experience of connecting and relating to other people, as they have helped me in mine.
From my experience, when people think and talk about NLP, they generally refer to NLP techniques as NLP.
Before we dive into it, building rapport is something that happens naturally over time, whether you’re aware of it or not. So here are 3 NLP Techniques that once you are aware of, you can use with choice to accelerate rapport with anyone– and from this place to have a meaningful, fierce or deeply intimate conversation, whether that is coaching, asking someone on a date, providing feedback, or asking for that pay rise.
Matching and Mirroring the Outside
Have you ever seen a couple, sitting at a restaurant or café – sharing a meal or a coffee… looking deeply into each other’s eyes, laughing, smiling and matching body language?
It’s usually pretty obvious to see and a clear indicator that they are in rapport.
The opposite is also true, if the couple begins to have an argument, or one is paying attention to their phone, their body language is usually mis matched, right down to the feet.
Having an understanding of this, a person can match and mirror another person’s physiology to quickly create rapport.
To be clear, matching and mirroring is NOT mimicking or copying (which is going to have the opposite effect of falling out of rapport). Matching and mirroring is natural and subtle where mimicking is obvious and unnatural.
Some of the things we can match and mirror on the outside are:
- Body language (legs, head tilt, hands, arms, torso)
- Posture (upright or slumped, leaning one way or another)
- Gestures (referred to as semantic space – how do you gesture tomorrow for example)
- Breathing rate
- Voice (tone, pitch, volume, speed)
Matching and mirroring a person’s representation system along with their eye accessing cues can help build rapport by speaking the same “language”.
- Visual – “Looks good”
- Auditory – “Sounds good”
- Auditory Digital – “Makes sense”
- Kinaesthetic – “Feels right”
- Olfactory/Gustatory – “Smells delicious”
- Matching and mirroring a person’s key words for what is important to them, loaded with meaning.
* An example of this is when someone is speaking about something that is important to them, they will EMPHASISES particular words, repeat them or have a different physiology when talking about something important to them. If you can see it and hear it, you can begin to feed it back to them.
Eye Accessing Cues
Not so much something to match and mirror but more of something to be aware of. We move our eyes in a patterned way, which is an indication on the outside about what is happening on the inside.
Generally speaking (some people do the reverse) if a person is looking down to their right, they are accessing emotions. Down to the left, they’re doing self-talk. Up to the right, they’re remembering an image.
Using this information, you can begin to match and mirror their primary representational system – gaining an understanding in which they process the world.
Why is this so effective? The other person gets to see themselves, in you. Using these techniques, you can become a mirror for the other person to see themselves – and they gain a sense that you really understand them, hear them and see them. Outside of awareness, we tend to like people who are like us.
Matching and Mirroring The Inside
Have you ever had the experience of being deeply understood by another person who seems to be “on the same page”? My guess is that if you have, then there is a tendency to like that person because they seem to understand you unlike other people.
How about the opposite – where the other person just does not see, hear or understand where you’re coming from? You’re trying to connect and relate but one person is so detailed in their explanation and the other is not. One has a belief that the other person completely disagrees with and will fight to defend it.
A skilled and subtle way of creating rapport quickly is to match and mirror a person’s interior – which is expressed on the exterior.
Having an understanding of this, some of the things we can match and mirror (but not necessarily buying into them) on the inside are:
- To be able to hear a belief structure that a person holds about something
Habituated Thinking Patterns
- Global or detail
- Optimistic or pessimistic
Pacing and Leading
Building rapport is about pacing another person’s reality, so that they get the sense that you are with them, wherever they are in the world. If you’re able to hold this space for another person where they get the experience that they are with someone who truly understands them then you have a depth of rapport. From this open, connective space you can facilitate real change.
Before doing that, you can test if you have rapport. Matching and mirroring the other person and then mis matching them and see if they follow. Some examples are:
- Taking a step backwards to see if they take a step forward
- Crossing or uncrossing your legs
- Picking up your glass and taking a sip
If they follow you, and begin matching and mirroring you, then you know you’re in rapport.
See you in the room!