by: Jed McCall
For the balanced, happy, successful individual, solid interpersonal skills are a must have characteristic. Understanding these skills will dramatically increase your confidence towards others. Remember, confidence is essential for good interpersonal skills. Understanding how people function will make you better at functioning in a social settings and relating to anyone. Think for a moment about the qualities you look for in a friend. The chances are you are thinking about ‘mutual benefit.’
To say that we look to gain from friendships is not being selfish, but it is being truthful. However, true friendships are also built on a desire to give something back whether this is materially, with laughter or as a shoulder to cry on. It often feels better to give than it does to receive. True friendship is therefore built on the principle of mutual need and benefit. People tend to gravitate towards others who are most like them. Our friendship groups tend to consist of like-minded individuals. We tend to share common interests like taste in music, attitudes, beliefs. Regarding the last couple of points, think about how much you judge others according to the company that they keep. Many of the prejudices we form stem from the people we see them hanging around with.
You will already know how easy it is for you to strike up a rapport with people who are like you. If conversation ever starts to dry up, you can start talking about sports or interests you share in common. In these circumstances we feel more relaxed, secure and extroverted in our surroundings. So what happens once you get taken away from your comfort zone?
Of course, not every person you need to form a relationship with is going to have similar interests to yourself. The people I am referring to here include colleagues and business partners. ‘What (you might ask) am I supposed to do here? How can I build rapport with these people that I share nothing in common with? There is a technique known to body language experts called ‘mirroring‘. Mirroring is a conscious effort to relax an individual by affecting the subconscious region of the mind.If this sounds a bit twilight zone for you then I urge you to read on, for mirroring is actually very simple.
We mentioned earlier how people enjoy being around similar people; however, being similar does not just mean wearing the same type of clothes but the type of signals we give off. Psychologists reckon that 95% of all communication is non verbal which means that there is a massive window of opportunity to communicate with people, even those who you do not share anything in common with culturally!
Mirroring is used all over nature. Scientists studying wolves have noticed how the rest of the pack will ape the behaviour of the alpha male. Even our day to day life, mirroring can be observed all the time. The next time you are on a date watch how your date reacts to you. If they follow your hand gestures, smile when you do, speak in the same tone, then the chances are you are on to a winner. In a business setting making a good impression is vital, so use mirroring to your advantage. If you are looking to make a good impression on your boss then follow their lead by adopting a similar posture, volume of voice, similar facial patterns and nodding when they nod. There is, of course, a bit of common sense needed here or you will end up looking a bit strange or even being offensive! Try to incorporate mirroring subtly into your behaviour pattern because it needs to be registered in the subconscious.
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