Monday, November 29, 2010

Mirroring People

In a recent episode of the Manager Tools podcast, they mentioned adopting the communication style of the other person to be perceived as a better communicator yourself. This is great advice I've had personal experience with, so I'm passing it on to others for their benefit.

This requires a basic understanding of the DiSC personality profile. It is a 2x2 matrix; one axis is people vs. task, and the other is assertive vs. reserved. Those 4 quadrants represent the Dominant, Influence, Steady and Conscientious personalities. (I'm a photographer, love working with information and have my degree in psychology, so as a typical High C my tendency is to stay quiet and observe while collecting more data.)

After a few years of using and loving this tool, what I really liked was their recent quick identification trick. Instead of observing people over time, listening for who vs. what questions & comments, there was a way to figure out in under a minute which quadrant they likely fit in. Step 1) Watch for their smile. Individuals who smile tend to be people oriented. They understand the value and effect that smiles can have. It opens doors, breaks down walls and will get you farther than words alone. Now you know whether they're I/S if they smile, or D/C if their smiles are few & far between. Step 2) Listen to see whether they interrupt you or leave a pause when you're done speaking. Interruptors are assertive and will be D or I personalities. The C/S types will be carefully planning a response.

Once you learn the trick of identifying, the next step is to start copying them. Smile more or less, interrupt or count to 3 before responding. It may be difficult to "act rude" from your perspective, but a High D will appreciate that you're moving the conversation along more quickly and that you've wiped that silly smile off your face. Conversely, a High S will be glad that you allowed them time to finish their sentence while you smiled and listened patiently.

The ultimate goal is to become well rounded. Adopt any of the traits necessary to be seen as an excellent conversationalist. Hopefully this is helpful for you. Good luck and let me know if you found the information useful.


Stephen Rioux said...

I have also listened to this podcast from and found it very interesting.

In my HR class that I have been taking it talked about mirroring someone to also establish rapport with someone. They put this in a category of nonverbal communication.

In my book they state that the most successful mirroring technique is to imitate the breathing pattern of another person.

If you adjust your own breathing rate to match someone else's, you will soon establish rapport with that individual.

They also go over voice voice speed with them as another technique.

They talked also briefly about mirroring by imitating a manager to win favor. Many "subordinates have a relentless tendency to copy the boss's mannerisms, gestures, way of speaking, and dress. As a consequence, without realizing why, your manager may think more favorably of you".

They do caution on mirroring no to use it to the extent that you appear to be mocking someone, there by adversely affecting the rapport you may be trying to gain from them.

I need to listen to that podcast again.

I wish I could get the more nitty gritty from that web site, but don't have the funds to sign up, so I will have to rely on the freebies.

I highly recommend and want to thank you Dave for pointing me in to the site. It has helped me in some very important things.

Frances said...

Companies who wish to learn a lot more about their employees could implement the assessment exams made by the experts from IntesiResources.