We started looking at ways in which candidates can be the best version of themselves when it comes to interviews. Ended up down a rabbit warren of blogs, articles and commentary on the art of mirroring and the science of conversation in business situations.
After digesting all the information it seems that there are some really simple ways to mirror the person you’re talking with in order to elevate the conversation, trust levels and ultimately build a better rapport which, in turn, could be crucial in that all important job interview.
- Word repetition
Repeating back 1-3 of the words in a sentence, typically the last few words, is a good way to show that you have listened and it also helps the speaker to connect their own words in their head. The speaker feels that they have been listened to and understood. In effect, it shows that you have heard every word – word for word and are willing to prove that by repeating some of the key information back to you. Repeating words acts to validate your response.
- Body language
Mirroring body language – wasn’t sure about this one until we tried it out. If someone is sat back in their chair then you should take a similar stance, if they lean in towards the table then try and replicate it. The benefits are that the interviewer is at ease and sees that you have similarities and is starting to build up a picture of you working in their team based on some subtle non-verbal signals. While copying every move they make is not a good idea at all, being aware of how they are holding themselves and consciously adjusting your body language to match, does work well. In essence, it increases the comfort level for both parties.
Once this becomes second nature to you – you will find yourself unconsciously mirroring each other.
- Non-verbal communication
Nodding and aggregable gestures are important, they are signals to show that you are listening and not just waiting for your turn to talk. They are vital to ensure the interviewer feels that you are bought into the conversation and taking things on board. Practising active listening is essential.
The stats seem to vary, but on average – a good rapport and relationship is built 7% on words, 38% on tone and 55% on the non-verbal communication.
These small but important tips are aimed at building trust and creating positive feelings between each party. Engaging in these simple behaviours have the effect of persuading someone to collaborate with you. Building that rapport in an interview coupled with your skills and experience to do the job well could just help to secure your next career move.
Have a go, practice in one to one situations and see if you can see the difference in outcomes.