The Strategist

How to use mirroring for better persuasion

02/19/2021 - 03:05

Some people seem to possess a magic wand when it comes to persuading others. In reality, it's not magic, but a science that can be learned.

The human brain has three layers. The lower layer, the reptilian brain, provides the "hit or run" response. The middle layer, the mammalian brain, is the reservoir of emotion. The upper one, the primate brain, is responsible for the rational assessment of a situation. In order to persuade someone, you have to appeal to the upper layer. But when a person is angry or frustrated, this layer is off. Your job is to turn it on.

Mirror neurons can help. They allow us to understand how others feel. They also explain the need for the outside world to reflect our feelings.

8 rules

Mirroring - understanding and responding to another person's desires - is a powerful persuasive tool. Here's how to apply it.

1. Learn to calm down.

It's important to instantly switch from reptilian to mammalian and then to human brain. This process can be called 'from 'gosh' to 'I agree'. Take a short pause, breathe slowly and start looking for a solution.

2. Switch to listening.

You know less about people than you think you do (interfered by filters, evaluations and beliefs). Analyse the opinion you have and compare it to reality.

3. Make the interlocutor feel how you feel about him.

Put yourself in his shoes. Ask: "How would I feel in that situation? Frightened? Anger? Frustration?" Then try saying, "I want to understand how you feel. I think it's..." and discuss the problem.

4. Be interested, not interesting.

Think of the conversation as a game of detective, with the objective of finding out everything about the person. Ask questions. The more interested you are, the less mirror neuron deficit the interlocutor has.

5. Make people feel valued by you.

Nice people deserve affirmation that you appreciate them. The annoying ones need it, too. Give both of them a sense of self-importance, and they'll give you what you expect of them.

6. Help people vent their emotions and thoughts.

If you are trying to make contact with a person who is suppressing feelings, ask, "Have I ever made you feel like I don't respect you?" or "Have I ever made you feel like you're not worth listening to?" Allow the person to let off the steam.

7. Get rid of inconsistencies.

Your confidence may seem arrogant and your concerns may seem hysterical. Find two or three people you trust and ask them to describe your worst traits. Try to correct them.

8. Openness is your salvation.

People will understand, forgive you and even try to help you if you are honest. Lying will make them angry and frustrated.

Based on "Just Listen" by Mark Goulston