Create a Connection by Mimicking

Daniel Pink

Lesson time 06:04 min

Humans are natural mimickers. If you’re aware of how this tendency can connect you to someone else, then you can deploy it strategically.

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Topics include: Three Steps to Strategic Mimicry · Mimicking With Language


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:07.30] - There are a lot of old sales, persuasion folklore that we hear out there, and one of them is that you should mirror and match your prospect's behavior, their gestures, the words that they use, OK? Is that true? It turns out, there's a lot of research on this question, and this is one of those pieces of folklore that is totally true. [00:00:31.93] Believe this one, folks, because mimicry is important. And we look down on mimicry. We say, oh, you're just aping someone's behavior. You're just parroting what they're saying. We're using not even human beings to describe that kind of behavior. [00:00:47.99] The truth is that human beings are natural mimickers. Mimicry is something we do naturally. Mimicry is something that we do as part of our effort to understand what-- where someone else is coming from. And if you are aware of it, you can deploy mimicry strategically. [00:01:07.54] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:01:14.29] There are three key steps to strategic mimicry. You watch, you wait, and you wane. Here's what I mean. Pay attention. How's somebody sitting? Are they sitting back like this? Are they chill and relaxed like this? [00:01:34.98] Are they more intense, looking at-- like this? Are they leaning this way? What words are they using? Like you're watching a nature film, watch what they're doing. [00:01:47.02] Now, next step, wait. Pick one of those things. If they lean back, count to 10. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, you lean back. [00:02:03.23] If they put their hand on their chin, count to 10. You put your hand on the chin. Now, I know this seems weird, but it's extraordinarily effective. [00:02:19.22] Third step, wane. You'll do this naturally. So don't feel like you need to match everything. Just watch what they're doing. Wait a little bit. Mimic, mirror one or two of their gestures. Let it slide a little bit. Do it again. [00:02:38.98] And what you'll find is that you're able to do this naturally because human beings are natural mimickers. The way that we understand someone else's point of view is, in some ways, by inhabiting their very body and doing what they do. [00:02:56.80] This has a dual effect. First of all, for you, you begin to understand where they're coming from better. For them, mimicry feels natural. People feel like they're being heard. [00:03:12.76] And again, this is not duplicitous. You're trying to understand where they're coming from and find common ground, and this is a way to do this. And even though it feels-- it might feel superficially a little icky, if you look at the research, it is overwhelming that this is a powerful skill. [00:03:29.92] The other thing that they do in the research is when they train people to mimic other people, they always do a manipulate-- what's called a manipulation check, where they ask of the other person, did you feel like you were being mimicked? And in 95 cases out of 100, people are like, what? No, no, not...

About the Instructor

With four NYT bestsellers, Daniel Pink is an influential voice in the evolving landscape of sales and motivation. Now the author of To Sell Is Human teaches you science-backed principles for effective and ethical sales and persuasion. Learn tactics for achieving better outcomes in any interaction—at home or at work—and tools for framing your message, navigating cognitive biases, and pitching ideas, products, or yourself.

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Daniel Pink

NYT-bestselling author Daniel Pink shares a science-based approach to the art of persuading, selling, and motivating yourself and others.

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