A person can develop rapport with another by mimicking their body language, speech, posture, pace and other characteristics. This method is a type of neuro-linguistic programming based on the work of Bandler and Grinder. 14 Such techniques can be used to help the doctor communicate better with the patient and also to improve a patient's attitude by changing the patient's body language position. It will be difficult for the patient to maintain a negative attitude if the body language position is not congruent. 13
Mirroring is a useful technique whereby the limb positions and body angles of the person you are talking to can be copied. A mirror image is formed of their position so that when they look at you they see themselves as in a mirror. It is not necessary to copy uncomfortable gestures or unusual limb positions such as hands behind the head. A partial mirror is often sufficient.
People exhibit a certain rhythm or pace that can be revealed through their breathing, talking, and movements of the head, hands or feet. If you can copy the pace of another person, it will establish a sense of oneness or rapport with them. Once this pace is established you can change their pace by changing yours. This is called leading.
Vocal copying is a rapid and effective way to develop rapport with people. It involves copying intonation, pitch, volume, pace, rhythm, breathing and length of the sentence before pausing. Engaging in these strategies will bring you into such close rapport that you can intuitively pick up all kinds of things about people that were not obvious beforehand. It may also have the unfortunate effect of making you feel that you are 'drowning' in their problems. If you feel overwhelmed, then break the rapport and diplomatically go into a leading phase. 15
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