Mirroring — also known as isopraxism — is a common negotiation tactic that is used to establish rapport, build stronger bonds, and create a sense of trust and understanding.
By understanding what mirroring involves and learning how to use it successfully, you can gain a significant advantage and improve negotiation outcomes.
What is Mirroring in Negotiation?
Mirroring in negotiation is a subtle tactic where you echo the body language and behaviour of the person you are engaging. It involves observing and copying their tone of voice, vocabulary, posture, and other nonverbal cues. By adopting similar mannerisms, you create a subconscious connection and establish a sense of rapport with the other party.
Here are some examples:
Mimicking body movements
Mirroring the other person's body movements involves subtly copying their gestures, such as head nods or hand movements. Doing this helps to create an emotional bond and build a closer connection.
Using a similar tone of voice
Matching your voice to the tone of the other person can make them feel more comfortable and connected to you. If they speak softly and calmly, you can adjust your own tone to match.
Repeating keywords or phrases
Paying close attention to their vocabulary and repeating keywords will demonstrate that you’re listening and create a sense of a shared understanding.
Adopting the same posture
Mimicking the other person's posture involves matching your body language to theirs. For instance, if they cross their legs or lean forward, you can do the same — this will create a sense of familiarity and show that you’re on the same page.
Many people do these things subconsciously and mirroring is often associated with charismatic people, as they tend to exhibit these behaviours. Charismatic people have the natural ability to build strong connections and adapt their body language and communication style to those around them.
You may mirror people unconsciously, but you can also incorporate these techniques into your negotiation strategy intentionally to achieve better outcomes.
Is Mirroring a Useful Negotiation Tactic?
Many professionals consider mirroring to be one of the most effective negotiation tactics. When used correctly, mirroring can help you establish an emotional bond with the other party and build trust and rapport.
By mirroring the other party’s behaviour, you show that you are listening and create a sense of empathy and understanding. This should reduce the likelihood of conflict and improve negotiation outcomes for you and the other party involved.
Various studies have shown that people are typically more cooperative and willing to reach mutually satisfying agreements when they see similarities between themselves and the other party.
Is Mirroring Important in Negotiation?
Many professionals would argue that mirroring is an essential component of successful negotiation. It plays a key role in establishing bonds and creating a foundation of understanding and trust, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes.
Mirroring techniques can be used in various professional and social situations, including:
- Business deals
- Political discussions
- Property transactions
- Family conflicts
- Employee salary negotiations
You can leverage mirroring negotiation techniques in any situation where you are trying to find common ground with another person(s).
How to Use Mirroring
Using mirroring in negotiation is a skill, but you can learn how to use the technique effectively with negotiation training and practice.
Follow these three steps to increase the likelihood of reaching mutually beneficial outcomes:
Pay close attention to the other person's communication style, body language, and other physical behaviours.
Change your own behaviour to match theirs. For instance, if they tend to speak slowly, adopt a similar pace and tone.
Mirroring goes beyond just physical behaviours. It also involves understanding and empathising with the other person's emotions. By acknowledging their feelings and perspectives, you can strengthen the rapport and trust between you.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind that mirroring should be done naturally and you must be careful not to mimic their actions identically. Being too obvious may backfire by making you appear dishonest or manipulative.
Mirroring is a powerful negotiation tactic that involves mimicking the other person’s body language and behaviours.
When used correctly, mirroring can establish trust and rapport, increasing the likelihood of reaching mutually beneficial agreements.
Effective mirroring involves observing the other party’s physical behaviours and adapting your own behaviour to match theirs You should also be understanding of the other person’s perspective and emphasise with their emotions.
By utilising these mirroring techniques, you can enhance your negotiation skills and achieve greater success in both professional and personal settings. For negotiation training, contact our friendly team of experts and get started today.