Mirroring is consciously matching portions of another person’s behavior in order to gain rapport. It is an effect that occurs naturally in everyday communication and can be used to increase the level of rapport felt between people. See also Matching.

Enhance your ability to establish rapport and to model excellence. This pattern builds a useful “second position” with another person. This skill is key in modeling others and for becoming intuitive in understanding the internal  experiences  of those you model.

Step #1. Select the subject.

Select someone for a conversation. Don’t tell them that you will be mirroring them.

Step #2. Conduct the conversation while mirroring the person.

During the conversation, ask their opinions on various topics. Mirror their physiology, including factors such as the tenor and cadence of their speech, and body language such as gestures. Do this subtly. If you need help maintaining the dialog, use active listening. This involves showing that you understand what they are saying by rephrasing their contributions. Beginning with a phrase such as, “You mean …” or “Soyou ‘re saying …” As you mirror, add elements such as their breathing as much as possible. Notice how you feel as rapport between you two develops.

Step #3. Exercise your  rapport: Test your  intuition and understanding of the person.

Test your ability to understand through rapport. Try out your intuitions about what they are saying.

Can you guess their opinion before they express it?

If you agree, try expressing the opinion yourself, and see how this affects rapport. If you express the opinion in a less certain manner, the person may gain pleasure from holding forth to reassure you that the opinion is correct, and to demonstrate their mastery of the subject.

This helps establish you as a positive anchor. Highly effective rapport can gain information about the other person that you can learn to pull out of your subconscious, making you feel as though you are psychic. This is very useful in modeling.

Step #4. Exercise your  influence by shifting your attitude and physiology.

Test your ability to influence others through rapport. Try shifting your attitude and physiology (e.g., breath pace, facial expression, and body language) in what you consider to be a desirable or possible direction. For example, shifting from a resentful or angry state gradually into a more constructive or powerful state. If you do this with some care, the other party is likely to shift with you. This has enormous value in areas such as sales, leadership and coaching.

Step #5. Test.

Explore these skills of “pacing and leading” in your relationships. Think of situations in which you could use these skills to improve your personal life or career performance. Notice what outcomes you get, and refine these skills as you go.


Credits for the creation of this NLP pattern belong to Richard Handler and John Grinder.