The power of modelling mannerisms is a natural ability that we all possess and can help others to feel more relaxed in your presence, but how can you use it to your advantage in a respectful way to build trust and win influence?
Modelling others is a fundamental human trait. Even if you have not been realizing it you have been synchronizing yourself with others since your conception. A baby’s body rhythm is literally synchronized with that of its mother and this tendency to synchronize continues later in life. For example, your taste of fashion is most likely influenced by your social environment so is your attitude and mannerism.
But, why do we do this?
The short answer is because it is natural and it helps us to belong. When someone smiles at you, you immediately smile back unthinkingly. Similarly when someone yawns you also feel compelled to yawn. And if you have ever seen a friend hurt themselves accidentally on the sharp corner of the lounge table it makes you wince in pain as well.
This modelling ability is a natural part of our lives and is especially important when it comes to building rapport. Naturally, we seem to prefer people who are in sync with us, be this in fashion style or in mannerism. It just makes us feel at ease and our amygdala (fight/flight centre) can cool down and relax and we can be more ourselves.
Studies have shown that we are likely to surround ourselves, employ and even date people who seem to be more like us. Now isn’t that a thing!
But what does modelling mean when it comes to increasing your likability and trust factor? Specifically, it refers to discreetly and purposefully copying and imitating the gestures, body postures and facial expressions of your conversation partner. Even the tone of voice and breathing is a powerful modelling method.
Modelling is especially important for sales and service industries but also when dating and making new connections at networking events and in social circles. Because a mismatch in the body energy between two or more people can kill the vibe and connection and things can go sideways rather quickly from here.
Imagine you are leisurely browsing the shops for items of interest to you and a salesperson rushes up to you engaging you in a loud voice, standing too close for comfort and keeps rubbing hands while speaking to you with intense eye contact. Safe to say you probably would feel intruded in a way and feel motivated to leave the space and to get away from this person.
The salesperson would be better off to match your energy and ease into the conversation with respect for you and mindfulness around your energy, to feel and match your vibe, meaning body language and posture and tone while holding soft frequent eye contact to build trust slowly and grow the connection.
Synchronizing yourself is a powerful communication tool that can be used anywhere. The only time this method can severely backfire on you is in arguments. Naturally, we are bound to model other people in posture and tone. However, if the other person is in a state of anger or frustration and you model this behaviour unconsciously you both might end up regretting what was said and done, so be mindful of when you model mannerisms and to what end goal you are using this very powerful technique.