You may not believe it, but you can immediately boost the strength of your social connections by being a copycat. Well, maybe not a “copycat,” but research has shown that subtly mimicking another person’s gestures and mannerisms subtly deepens the connection that person feels with you.
Adopting the gestures and mannerisms of another person offers a subtle (yet powerful) edge in social interactions. Let’s look at just a few of the reasons you should start implementing subtle mimicry today.
1. Mimicry Increases Liking
Some of the first studies on behavioral mimicry demonstrated its powerful impact on establishing rapport and likability.
In one early study, researchers invited people to participate in a research project in which they would have casual conversations with other participants. If you were a participant in this study, you wouldn’t think anything was up, but the researchers had a trick up their sleeves.
In all cases, one of the conversation partners was really an actor working with the experimenters, posing as another participant.
This actor was given very simple instructions. For half of the conversations, the actor would subtly mimic the real participant’s mannerisms. If the participant crosses her legs, the actor would cross her legs too. If the participant shook her foot, the actor would start to shake her foot too. For the other half of the conversations, though, the actor did nothing to copy the participants’ mannerisms.
In the conversations where there was mimicry, the participants came to like their partners more than when there wasn’t mimicry, and they reported that the conversation went more smoothly.
2. Mimicry Encourages Greater Trust
It’s not all about liking and attraction. By synchronizing your mannerisms with another person, you also heighten the trust between that person and yourself.
When people are subtly mimicked, they end up trusting the mimicker more, divulging more personal information, for instance. There’s also research showing how subtle behavioral mimicry makes important negotiations go more smoothly.
3. Mimicry Makes Other People More Helpful
Being mimicked also increases a person’s likelihood of helping out their partner when he or she is in need. One study found that 100% of participants who had been mimicked helped their conversation partners pick up a bunch of pens that had been dropped, whereas only a third of participants who hadn’t been mimicked helped out.
The next time you want to deepen your connection with another person, and immediately get that person on your side, try subtly mimicking that person’s mannerisms. If he’s crosses his arms across his chest, wait a few seconds and do the same. If she scratches her nose, wait a few moments, and scratch your own.
Remember, though, that the goal is to be subtle. You shouldn’t be like a mime playing the mirror game. The point is to just signal that you operating on the same level as the other person. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can gain rapport.
To get 6 other proven strategies to increase social connection, check out my new online course on the psychology of attraction and likability (http://tiny.cc/o121yx).
The course includes almost three hours of videos, and I cover a ton of scientific studies on the topic. I also talk about how you can apply these findings to get results in your own life.
Photo Cred: Inc.com