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Without realising, many of us mimic body language, facial expressions and gestures when we are talking to other people. Think about the last time you spent an extended amount of time with a friend or colleague. The chances are that you may have found yourself using a similar tone or language as them, subconsciously imitating their speech patterns.

Research has shown that ‘mirroring” begins as early as infancy. In 2008, a study found babies begin to mimic people around them which helps to establish a sense of empathy, to help them begin to understand emotions. Essentially, mirroring is something we are biologically predisposed to do as social animals to prevent conflict with others.

However, research suggests that “verbal mirroring” — otherwise known as “linguistic mirroring” — can also be a useful tool if used intentionally. If you’ve ever got a ‘good vibe’ from a particular person, it may well be because they were trying to mirror your behaviour.

Verbal mirroring can also be a simple yet effective way of establishing a connection with someone if done purposefully. Adopting the same gestures, tone or posture as someone can enhance bonding and help with persuading, negotiating or networking because the person who is being mirrored feels comfortable.

By engaging in synchronous behaviour, you’re effectively creating familiarity, making them feel more secure.

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