Being perceived as someone who is open, honest, and trustworthy is essential for professional success. Clearly the first step to being seen as honest and trustworthy is actually conducting yourself in an open and honest manner and following through on your word. However, it is also vital that you appear trustworthy as well. Body language is one factor that can significantly impact how others view you and decide whether or not you are someone they can place their trust in. Even though they may not realize it, people are meaningfully affected by the non-verbal communication of others in subtle, often subliminal ways. One extremely effective way your body language can inspire trust is mirroring.
As social creatures, humans are hardwired to seek out connections with others. Instinctually, we feel more comfortable with those who we feel are similar to us, are on the same page, or simply “get” us. One way to inspire this feeling is by mirroring the body language of another person. When two people share a social bond, they often unconsciously mirror each other’s actions by adopting similar postures and gestures as they interact. Clearly imitating each and every movement of your conversation partner will come across as bizarre and uncomfortable. However, subtly mirroring their actions and general posture and alignment in conversation can make them feel more comfortable with you without realizing why. If your conversation partner uses a certain hand gesture frequently, insert it into your conversation once or twice. If they adopt a posture or position, wait a minute or so, and then adopt a similar posture. Your conversation partner will get the subliminal feeling that the two of you are on the same page and that you are someone they can trust.
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