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Gaining Influence Through NLP Rapport Building

Everyone needs to have more influence. That includes salespeople, politicians, mentors, leaders, supervisors, teachers, trainers, therapists, consultants, negotiators, service staff, even parents and friends – practically anyone who has intends to convey a message needs influence. Even a stop sign needs to have influence over people looking at it.

Alright, that was a joke, but it brings out another point – authority only works to a certain extend, i.e., you will only get compliance at a certain level if people are only listening to you because of your position. The effects of having influence on the other hand can be much more profound.

In my opinion, one of the best books ever written that can teach us about having more influence over people was published in  1936, written by Dale Carnegie, entitled, “How to win friends and influence people”. It is a highly recommended read. Even though he wasn’t talking about NLP, we can still apply NLP modelling to learn how to be more influential.

Having said that, what we are discussing today is not what Mr Carnegie shared in his book. What we are sharing with you are some tricks on how you can build rapport with people quickly, even if you are meeting them for the first time.

This might ring a bell: in a study by Dr. Albert Mehrabian in 1967, he concluded that in face to face communication, only 7% of the information are transmitted by the words that we use, 38% by the sender’s tonality and the remaining 55% by the sender’s physiology. If rephrase this in another way, it means that 93% of the time, we are communicating to the unconscious mind of the recipient (because we are not consciously paying attention to the tone of voice and physiology of the presenter).

There are 2 important inferences to this study:

1. the unconscious mind processes much more information than the conscious mind
2. rapport can be built at an unconscious level, in fact, 93% of the time, it is built at an unconscious level

Here is one way to build rapport quickly:

Matching and mirroring forms the basis of rapport building in NLP. In a study in Boston Medical School, researchers studied films of people having conversations. They noticed that people having conversations unconsciously mimic each others movements, including eye blinks, head nods, gestures and even the way they sat in chairs. What is even more intriguing is that  when they monitored the subjects using electroencephalographs, they found some of their brain waves were spiking at the same time. They also concluded that the longer this took place the deeper the level of rapport between the people.

By matching and mirroring the recipient’s body posture, head tilt, gestures, blink rate, tonality, phrases that they use and other physiology, you are allowing the unconscious mind to find common ground between you and there for building rapport at an unconscious level.

There are 3 ways we can do this:

1. Matching – do exactly what the recipient is doing, i.e. if the recipient is touching his chin with he right hand, you do the same;
2. Mirroring  – use the opposite side of your body to do the same thing, i.e. if the recipient crosses his legs with left leg over right leg, you sit with your right leg over left leg (as if you are a mirror image of him)
3. Cross-over mirroring – use a different part of your body to do the same thing as what the other person is doing, i.e., if the person is tapping his hand, you could nod your head in the same beat.

When you sign up for our NLP Practitioner course, we will have some matching and mirroring exercises that you can do to help you better understand how you can apply this simple yet powerful technique to help you get the message you want across more effortlessly, we will also share with you how to can do this with a group of people.