Some of you will be aware of the idea of matching and mirroring in covert hypnosis. Basically, what matching and mirroring means is: when you copy someone else’s behaviour – their movements, the tilt of their body language, their signals and their hand gestures etc – at a level where they perceive it unconsciously but are not consciously aware of it, at that time you tend to build a very strong rapport or connection with the other person.
Now this is something very important. Something that a lot of people get wrong when learning covert hypnosis. The reason that matching and mirroring works is because it is perceived outside of ordinary conscious awareness. And the reason that a lot of people who try to apply matching and mirroring get into trouble is that, when the other person becomes aware that you’re copying them, they start feeling upset or somehow feel like you’re taking the Mickey (making fun of them).
It’s very, very important that if you are going to use matching and mirroring, it stay outside of someone’s perception. Let’s look at an example from an actual research study.
A Study on Matching & Mirroring
In this study, a whole bunch of people were given a presentation – a pitch if you like – by a virtual robot.
Now this virtual robot was programmed to match their body language. What would happen is that specific things like head tilt, hand gestures, body lean, were measured as the people were watching the presentation. And then the virtual robot would mirror these things, would actually adopt the same kind of positions with respect to head tilt and hand gestures and body tilt, as the people were watching, but they were given an exactly 3-second delay to make it less obvious it was happening.
Now, at the end of this they found out which of the presentations were the most persuasive.
The interesting thing is that of all the people that took this study, two-thirds of the people didn’t realise that the virtual robot was matching and mirroring their behaviour. And those people tended to be persuaded by the very ideas that the robot, the virtual robot, that was presenting.
Now, and this is all something that you need to be aware of, about one-third of the people found out, half-way through the presentation “oh, this robot is actually mimicking what I’m doing”, and at that point they were less persuaded than a control group.
So in other words, if you’re matching and mirroring someone and they find out you’re doing this, you’re likely to break rapport and actually get the opposite reaction to what it is that you want.
So later on in this programme we’ll be having a look at another covert hypnosis technique that will allow you to match and mirror someone unconsciously, so that it’s very, very unlikely that they’ll ever find out that you’re doing it.
For now just be aware that matching and mirroring is a powerful technique, but it has limitations. Which is why on the rest of this programme, on this CD, we’ll be looking at how to go beyond the traditional rapport methods.