What Is Mirroring and How Can You Use it?

New York Times Wordle

Chris Voss was an expert at building rapport with and persuading terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way as an FBI hostage negotiator. Discover how mirroring works and why it is such an effective negotiation tool.


What Is Mirroring?

Mirroring is a communication technique in which a person repeats key parts of what their conversation partner says in order to gain their trust and attention. Mirroring demonstrates active listening and can be an effective strategy for salespeople, romantic partners, and job interviewees. Mirroring behavior as a negotiation strategy aids in the development of rapport with and the gathering of information from criminals.

To build trust, negotiators may mimic others' word choices and nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language. This mimicry and picking up on nonverbal cues allow the negotiator to converse with and confront their subject more effectively. Over time, this can mean that the negotiator gets what they want without making the other person feel duped or used, resulting in a more pleasant interaction and a smoother process.


How to Use Mirroring in Negotiation by Chris Voss

Chris has extensive experience working with subjects who prefer not to speak. He discusses mirroring techniques that have helped him become a successful negotiator. Follow these hints to increase your negotiating power:

1. Allow others to view your case. Negotiation isn't about persuading others of your point of view. "One of the adages about negotiation is 'the art of letting the other side have their way,' so mirroring gets them talking and creates the opportunity for them to present you with your deal, only they thought it was their idea," Chris explains.

2. Keep an ear out for one to three key words. To make a connection, repeat a few key terms back to your subject. "It's usually the last one to three words of what someone has said," Chris says. "However, once you've mastered mirroring, you can choose one to three words from anywhere in the conversation." As Chris puts it, "the other person feels listened to—it tends to connect thoughts in their head."

3. Try mirroring in low-stakes situations. Mirroring can be awkward the first time you try it. Chris suggests trying the tactic on strangers. "Experiment with a Starbucks [employee]. Test it on the hotel clerk. "Try it with people who are willing to give you a chance to learn because there isn't much at stake," Chris suggests. "Practice for three weeks, do sixty-three to sixty-four repetitions, and it'll come naturally to you, and you'll get past the awkwardness."

4. Turn “a wrestling match into a dance.” Mirroring can be effective in confrontational situations where two parties disagree. "Try a mirror the next time someone is being confrontational with you," Chris suggests. "Utilize a great tone of voice, genuine curiosity, and mirror them a few times to see if their tone changes."

5. Understand your first goal is to gather information. After gathering information, you can use details later in persuasion. "Part of the message mirroring sends to the other person is, 'I heard every word you said, and I'm proving it by just repeating it back to you," Chris says.

If you wish to contribute to our blog, please email us on morhadotsan@gmail.com.

Newyork Times Wordle

Popular Articles