Mind Your Body Language

Our body language is a powerful indicator of the way we feel and can tell others much more about us than our words ever can.   Our tone of voice and body language are extremely important in making connections with people we may not know so well. When we first meet someone it can be a little awkward to get along if we have nothing in common.
Next time you next meet a stranger that you would like to get to know better, try these simple techniques.

Matching Behavior

Look carefully at how they are sitting, the way they are holding their body and what they are doing with their hands or feet.
Try matching their behavior without being too obvious. For example   they may be leaning on a table, crossing their legs or have their hands on their hips. You might also find it useful to watch people who are in rapport to see how they  naturally match each others behavior.  As you become a student of human behavior, you will see that friends or simply those who like each other do these things unconsciously. Sit in a bar or coffee shop and observe the different ways people mirror or match behavior. One picks up a drink and their friend does the same. Or you may see coworkers engrossed in conversation,  as one folds their arms the other unknowingly follows suit.
The key is to be subtle. You don’t want to look as if you are actually copying, rather that you are so in alignment that you are in sync with what they are doing. It could be as simple as observing and matching  them as they touch their face or adjust a stray hair.

Eye Contact

Sometimes we may feel awkward about looking  others directly in the eye if we don’t know them, yet it is often considered a sign of trustworthiness. Learning to hold someone’s gaze just long enough is a skill that can be learned. Again, watch people who are already in rapport and see how natural it is.

Tone of Voice

The key to rapport is understanding that people like people who are like them. Be aware of your tone of voice and tempo. Matching aspects of the voice is a great way to start. If your new friend is speaking softly or slowly, make sure your tone  of voice and pace of speech is in alignment. They will instantly feel more drawn to you.
Think about when you meet someone and feel uncomfortable because they are too loud or you just get a bad vibe. It’s often because they are breaking rapport by behaving in a manner that is alien to you at an unconscious level. As we get to know people we make adjustments in our behavior to bring ourselves in alignment with them. We program ourselves to fit in.
I highly recommend that you go out and do some behavioral analysis. See if you can figure out the relationship of those you are observing by the story their body tells. It  is not about being fake, it’s simply a short cut to a naturally occurring state. Before long you wont need need to do it consciously.

By Trish Taylor

Author and Speaker