When you listen to somebody, do you really hear them?
There has been much research carried out on language patterns and how they can be used to create rapport and synergies between two individuals. Listening to the language patterns which someone uses, or reading them and mirroring back can make a huge difference to the response that you receive. Recent research showed that people who think alike are more likely to mirror language. So can you mirror language to build a relationship and rapport quickly?
This is considered so important that research this year at Cornell University, has been investigating chatbot mirroring of human language patterns with artificial intelligence to create rapport. The abstract is here . There has been some work previously carried out looking at how people have a preference to perceive the world and how this affects their language. Some people believe that individuals work from a primary operating system. The main three being
I discovered that the way I spoke to one of my first Managers changed everything about how he heard me. My language patterns are primarily kinaesthetic. For example, I would take him a report and ask “how do you feel about this?’ He really didn’t understand what I meant because he worked in a primary area where auditory with his driver.
If I’d said to him “I gave you that report. What are you hearing from that?“ He would’ve been far more understanding. It sounds like a small change and maybe some people would’ve said “what do you think about my report”, but when you work with another driving operating system and you have someone that is very opposite, this is where differences in understanding can occur
It’s the same type of response when you say something that might be emotional. Different people may respond in a different way. Someone may say “I feel you”. Others may say “I hear you” and others may say “I see what you mean”.
Listening carefully to somebody’s language patterns and understanding them can create a whole new level of rapport.
Mirroring is taking on board the same language patterns.
You can also use this within your writing of emails especially to people you don’t know. For example do you write Hi, Dear or leave it blank when you write an introduction on an email? Again, reading the language pattern of the other person and mirroring can be important. Obviously not copying the email word for word but certainly looking at the way the person writes and thinking about the language they would use to respond will help create rapport.
Another way of using language patterns within your relationship building and coaching is reflecting back to the client using their language. Using reflective enquiry has been highly promoted by Dr Marcia Reynolds who is the world's number one female coach. In some cases reflecting back slightly differently and using different words can also encourage the client/ person to clarify.
This is just touching the tip of the iceberg with the language and words themselves and we have not even delved into pauses, inflexions and annunciation. However, actually listening to the type of words being used creates a different way in which you hear the person in front of you. Next time you are having a conversation with someone, really practice ACTUAL listening and truly hear them.
Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an Executive, Personal and Career Development Coaching company in Hong Kong and New York. She is also the Founder of recruitersgiveback.org a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is degree qualified with a Certificate in Professional Coaching from the ICF, Certificate in Team Coaching from the EMCC. Also further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level. www.successCL.com www.recruitersgiveback.org