Using NLP Body Language &
Body Language Communication

To make friends and influence people using NLP body language is on the one hand definitely do-able but on the other hand would require some study and practice in order to become skilled and effective with it. The art and science of body language use and interpretation is not some complex and arcane discipline but does involve having a thorough understanding of it and also the cultivation of a certain subtlety of mind.

NLP body language is basically about creating rapport with the other person or, if you were a highly skilled practitioner, group of persons. Creating and building rapport using non verbal communication to underpin your verbal communication depends on one key factor, that being authenticity.

This relates to the technique of "mirroring", aka "matching" or "process pacing". Mirroring is based on what is actually a very simple psychological foundation, that being that two people who are getting on well together sometimes tend to subtly mirror or match each other's gestures and movements. Not in any directly obvious way of course - that's where authenticity comes into it - but in subtle ways that wouldn't normally be noticed by the conscious mind but would be by the subconscious.

And it's your subconscious mind that ultimately decides for you whether or not you like, trust or are attracted to someone. You'll almost certainly at some point in your adult life have wondered why someone you just met made you feel at ease or uneasy as the case may be. That person's subtle body language which you subconsciously picked up on almost immediately had a lot to do with that.

With regard to the process of using mirroring techniques to build rapport there is however a kind of chicken and egg factor around this. People who get on well together sometimes unconsciously mirror each other's gestures and mannerisms, but that happens because the rapport already exists, the rapport itself is not necessarily created by the mirroring.

So therefore if you want to use NLP related body language techniques such as mirroring or matching in order to help create and build rapport with someone, for example someone who is interviewing you as a potential job candidate, or someone you find attractive or someone you want to close a deal with, then you have to be careful to use mirroring subtly and sparingly.

NLP Body Language Signs

The aforementioned concept of authenticity is key to this. Authenticity would generally be much more easily and effectively achieved by someone with positive intentions. What this means is that someone who was using mirroring techniques in order to help create a genuinely balanced, mutually respectful and constructive relationship would tend to be much more successful at using mirroring than would someone who was using it for negative reasons such as a desire to manipulate and exert power/control.

Negatively inspired mirroring tends to be somewhat clumsy and easily seen through and therefore ineffectual. If no genuine rapport exists in the first place and you then try to mirror someone's mannerisms in order to influence them, they will almost certainly pick up on the attempted deceit subconsciously and quite possibly consciously.

However if your intentions are positive, in that you want that job because you know you'd be good at it, or you want to close that deal because you know that it's a good deal for all, or you want to hit it off with that person you find attractive because you feel that you would be great together, then a certain amount of rapport is already there. Mirroring techniques can then be used, subtly and sparingly, to build on and strengthen that rapport.

Some of the more common gestures and mannerisms noted in NLP body language studies include seating positions, crossing and uncrossing of legs or ankles, leaning forward to face each other, hand movements or gestures, i.e. hand on chin as if pondering something or clasping and unclasping of hands. And of course smiling - genuinely - at each other is universally recognised as being an effective rapport builder.

There are of course countless other mannerisms which can be mirrored. The best way to start learning this skill would be to look around and observe peoples' mannerisms and gestures in public places such as bars and restaurants etc.

One of the main "rules" relating to the mirroring technique involves allowing a short delay before matching a particular gesture or movement that someone has made. If, for example, you're sitting with someone facing each other across a table and the other person at some point during the conversation clasps their hands together on the table, wait around 20 seconds before matching the gesture, even if within that time the person has unclasped his or her hands again.

The other person will have subconsciously noted this, and, if it's done subtly and authentically and has been one of several gestures and mannerisms that you have subtly and authentically mirrored in the course of the conversation, this will all tend to "feed" the other person's subconscious with the impression and feeling that you are on the same wavelength as them, that you're both "on the same page" together, that your feelings, views and interests are somehow conjoined.

Bear in mind though that NLP body language matching should never be used excessively or thought of (by clumsy thinkers) as the be all and end all of creating rapport. If you're not careful with this your attempts to create and build rapport will backfire leaving your "subject" feeling that you're somehow trying to take the mickey out of them and you looking like an annoying fool.

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