Mirror and Match

Continuing on with this subject of Rapport, mirroring and matching is a great way to strengthen the relationship between you and the interviewer. When we are closely connected and in rapport, we subconsciously synchronise our behaviour and physical actions. Next time you are outside in a café or restaurant, look around and see how people are subconsciously reflecting each other’s body language. If one person touches their face, their partner will do the same. This is something our subconscious brain does but if you are consciously aware of this you can use it to your advantage. 

About 4 years ago, one of my clients was working for one of the big 4 consultancies and he had a meeting each week on Fridays with his boss. In this meeting, his boss would sit behind his desk arms folded and listened to my client summarise the accounts on paper. He was always intimidated by his boss and told me that he wanted to improve the relationship. I asked him to draw on a piece of paper the layout of the office, the desk and where he was sitting. I thought carefully about the body language they both had and how we could improve this. 

I told my client, next time when he goes into the meeting don’t take the paperwork with you instead make a small but obvious mistake something that your boss will spot immediately and easily fix on the spreadsheet. Then take your laptop in and explain that everything is perfect and that you’ve double checked it but there’s a discrepancy you cannot find which is making you printing the report impossible to present. Place the computer in the middle of the desk sideways and sit down with your body at a 45 degree angle towards the screen, he will be forced to unfold his arms and lean into the desk mirroring your body position. The mistake was easily spotted, and equation updated fixing the problem. His boss felt great as his input was valuable but most importantly his body language stayed in that position throughout the rest of the meeting. My client 6 months later was promoted and now holds the position of department manager and benefits from having an excellent relationship with his boss. 

Now, there was some risk involved his boss could have turned him away and told him to fix it and then come back once it was done, or he could have even criticised him for his lack of observation however, there was nothing we would have been able to do with his body language in that state of mind, it was reserved, defensive and confrontational. Instead we were able to position his boss into a new state of mind and it paid off. The reason for me telling this story is so that 1: you are more aware of the other person’s body language and can spot positive and negative expressions and 2: that you have the ability to change it to become more productive. If you’re interviewer folds their arms, lean in and point to something on your CV, they will have to change their position to engage. 

Finally, think about your own body language, are you sitting defensively or closing yourself off?