In this chapter we found that mirroring is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to build rapport with other people. It can be done consciously to gain an advantage and if done properly will go without noticed. It is effective to create liking, acceptance and formulate bonds. We discussed the chameleon affect where unconscious mimicry of postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviours occur between people of like minds. We looked at various studies showing that even purposeful mirroring has positive effects, creates and reveals liking in others, and helps gain approval. We found that proper mirroring is unlike the childhood game “copy-cat” where we imitate to irritate.
Proper mirroring, we found, works best by subtly picking up on unconscious gestures such as foot shaking, body scratching, face or hair touching or changes in posture. We discussed that mirroring that includes more dramatic gestures like leaning in, crossing legs, or folding arms, must always be done undetected lest it cause irreversible damage or negative thoughts. Echoing was compared to mirroring, with one key difference. That is, we found that echoing happens when similar postures were taken up, but only after some time had elapsed, rather than immediately as in mirroring. Echoing was therefore described as a more subtle way to build rapport. We found that mirroring can help find common ground during negotiations by creating cooperation and empathy instead of deception.
We also talked about what issues can arise to inhibit mirroring which includes resistance from inward looking people who define themselves by whom they are rather than their associations with others, self monitors who tend to obey their own internal regulators instead of modifying themselves by environment, and the final reason was outlined as outright disagreement. We discussed how mirroring can be matched to create perfect flow through changing dialect, speech rate or tempo, pitch, tonality, voice inflection, use of words and even accent and is called “communication accommodation theory.” We defined perfect speech patterns as “pacing” where information flows uninterrupted and in rhythm. Next we solved the puzzle as to why our pets look like our kids and couples look like each other, how our bosses and superiors call the shots and we should only sometimes mirror them, and how women mirror more than men overall.