Does Your Body Language Pass The Test?

3 Keys You Can Improve On Today

3 Keys – Do you ever wonder if the body language you’re transmitting is saying what you think it is?

Scott Rouse - 3 Keys to body language

If you don’t know but you’d like to make a few, fast and easy improvements then read on my friend.  This post is just for you…

It’s All About Communication.

Everyone wants the power to communicate effectively.  With that in mind I’ve put together 3 Keys that will help ensure the body language you’re transmitting will very quickly create rapport, make the other person feel open to what you have to say, and at the same time give them the feeling they are connecting with you instantly.

The first time I experienced all 3 keys being focussed on me at the once I didn’t realize what had happened until years later.  That’s because I observed the same person who had used them on me, using them on someone else.  This guy was one of those people everybody liked.  Now I know why.

Since that day I try my best to use the 3 Keys with every person I meet.  I’ve found that when I do, I’m more relaxed during that first meeting and conversation.  That makes me come across as relaxed.  When the other person feels I’m relaxed they relax a bit as well.  Here’s how it’s done…

Here’s what it looks like when all 3 Keys are in play:

KEY #1 – Use The Instantaneous Impressions Study

You’re at a social gathering.  While you’re listening to your friend Jay’s horrifically boring story about how funny his dog’s personality really is you happen to look up and see a guy enter the room.  He’s smiling a little bit…  He looks like a pleasant enough person…  Jay sees him, and waves him over.

What Happened?

When Sam entered the room you were exposed to a version of Harvard’s “Instantaneous Impressions Study”.  You may know it by it’s other name the “Thin Slices Study”.   The study showed that when a person is first exposed to another person, the first person very quickly makes decisions about the second person, and vice versa.  They each decide whether the other person is nice, rude, honest, intelligent, fake, pleasant, boring, etc.

Since they’ve never met before, it’s impossible to know for sure if the other person has any of those traits.  So what happened?  How do they come to these conclusions?  The research showed that the first person sees mannerisms, expressions, movements, and clothing style, that reminds them of someone they know or admire.  Or possibly someone they know and dislike.  Their brain makes up an entire backstory for the other person very quickly.  And that is what the initial feelings toward the other person are created from and based on.

Your first impression of Sam was a good one.  He was smiling, looked confident, and you got the feeling he was a pleasant and likable person.  It’s important to understand that those first decisions are hard to change.  So your mother was right.  That first impression really is important.

KEY #2 – Look Like A Listener

Jay turns to you and says “Jim” (You’re Jim by the way) “this is my friend, Sam.  Sam, this is my friend, Jim.  I see Emily over there waving me in to help with something, I’ll be back.”  Sam asks “So, how do you know Jay and Emily?”  You tell him how you and Jay have been friends since you were kids because your mothers have known each other forever.

Sam says “No kidding… I’ll bet you guys have some good stories.  What’s the most embarrassing thing he’s ever done to you?”  You tell him the story about how Jay de-pantsed you in the 4th grade right in the middle of the lunchroom.  That’s a pretty long story, but Sam is really into it.  So you tell him how you guys had this other friend a long time ago who moved to Ohio half way through high school but now the guy is this awesome accountant and he does your taxes every year for free.  Sam is really interested in that story too.  He can’t believe how lucky you are!

What Happened?

Guess what?  There’s no way Sam could possibly care less about your friend who moved to Ohio and does your taxes for free.  Surprised?  That’s okay.  Sam was using nonverbal cues that told your brain he was listening to you and gave you the impression he was damn near fascinated with that accountant story.  And everything else you talked about as well.

He was making eye contact, his head was tilted slightly with his ear toward you just a bit, and his eyebrows were up slightly.  He would nod his head every 10 seconds or so and he never looked around the room while you were talking.  Then his eyebrows would come together so it looked like he was thinking.  He’d nod his head a few more times and then his eyebrows would go back up a little bit.  Remember, It’s just as important to look like you’re listening as it is to listen.

KEY #3 – Matching And Mirroring

You and Sam have been talking for about 15 minutes.  Jay walks up, looks at Sam and says “Jason and Mitch are in the kitchen and they asked me to tell you to come in there.”  Sam tells you how great it was meeting you and assures you he’ll see you around.

Jay says “Well?  What do you think about Sam?”  You say “I can’t believe I’ve never met him before.  What a great guy!  We got along really well.  He’s nice, smart, seems like everybody likes him.  Yeah.  I really like that guy.”  Jay says “I know!  EVERYBODY likes that guy.  They always have.  Yeah… Some people just have that charisma thing I guess.”

What Happened?

-You didn’t realize that every time you changed positions while you were talking to Sam, he would slowly work around changing his positions so they looked just like yours.  He mirrored almost every move you made.  They weren’t exactly the same positions, but they were close.  And after a little while, you started mirroring his positions!  When you got excited and talked a bit loud and fast, Sam did too.  And when you got quiet and slowed down, Sam did the very same thing.  And you didn’t even realize it.  That Key is called Matching and Mirroring.

Milton Erickson - Body Language - Scott RouseDr. Milton Erickson was the first to really lean into the study of human behavior as it relates to the interactions that create what he coined “Matching and Mirroring”.  If you’ll observe best friends, family members, and even people who really admire each other but are just meeting for the first time, you’ll notice they will match and mirror each other.  This is a technique you can use in meetings and at home as well.

Why does this work to help quickly create rapport?  It works because people like people who are like them.  They also like people they want to emulate.  When your brain sees someone who “looks” like you look when you are talking to them, it subconsciously helps you to feel more comfortable and relaxed with that person.  Mirroring is not something you want to do exactly like the other person.  That would look weird and unnatural. The other person would most likely realize what was happening and may think you’re mocking or making fun of them.  Or they may think you’re insane.

Matching and Mirroring is a subtle art.  You must be cautious and make sure you take your time when changing positions and copying what the other person is doing.  Just because they rub their eye doesn’t mean you have to rub yours.  For those specific smaller moves it’s best you do nothing.  It’s only the big moves and position changes that count.  You must be subtle when Matching and Mirroring.

Everybody wants to be liked.

Everybody wants to feel like they are understood and listened to.  Everyone wants the power of effective communication.  You can use these 3 Keys to help you make others feel that way when they talk with you.  Use the 3 Keys for 1 month.  Just 30 days.  If you do, I promise you will see a huge difference in the way people act and react toward you.

Let me know in 30 days what your experience was like.  Tell me how how it changed things for you.  Tell me about differences you noticed in the people you talk to every day.  If you have any questions about these techniques or want to know where to get more information on and about them, hit me on Twitter.  @ScottRouse3