Sunday, October 10, 2010

Negotiation Secret # 71: Mirror, Mirror

In this photograph, Mr. Norman Francis sits with Michelle Obama.  He is president of Xavier University and she, of course, is first lady of the United States.  Mr. Francis' face and body posture are a nearly perfect mirror of Ms. Obama's. We tend to strongly mirror those we admire.  It is also a fundamental rapport-building tool used by the perceptive to gain another's favor or friendship.

Care should be taken not to mirror others too exactly or too close in time, lest it backfire.  In addition, it would be wise to avoid mirroring in all subordinate-superior relationships - in some contexts it will be taken as an affront by the superior.