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First Published in PERSONAL SUCCESS Magazine - February 1994
RAPPORT - The Magic Ingredient - Part 2"

Penny Tompkins and James Lawley

"You don't want want RAVING FANS!!!" Anthony Robbins

One of our students at City University had been trying to change jobs for a few years.  After learning some basic rapport skills such as mirroring and matching, and using these at interviews, he was at last  successful in landing a brilliant position in The City.  In practising her rapport skills in interview situations, another student  has become a television presenter.

Anthony Robbins is a master of rapport's matching and mirroring skills.  These skills have become so natural he does not even need to think about  'doing' them.  They are automatic.  And I believe he used these exact skills in his two-hour audience with Princess Diana on his recent visit to England!

"Personal Success" readers are also taking advantage of NLP tips and exercises and learning new and powerful communication skills, and are changing their lives for the better as a result.

What about you?  Are you ready to try something new and make those changes now?


In last month's issue, Rapport - The Magic Ingediant - Part 1, we introduced mirroring.  Mirroring is physically 'copying' the behaviour of another person, as if reflecting their movements back to them.  This is done with respect and subtlety.  At an unconscious level the person with whom you are communicating in this way feels acknowledged and appreciates your interest in them.  You are pacing that person's experience, and although they may be unaware of your mirroring, it will still have a profound effect.

Mirroring done with integrity and respect creates positive feelings and responses in you and others. Otherwise, mirroring becomes mimicry and has negative consequences. So as you learn the following additional rapport skills, remember the powerful effect you create must be based on honourable values and principles.


One basic difference between mirroring and matching is timing. While mirroring is simultaneous with the other person's movements, matching can sometimes have a 'time delay' factor to it. For example, if someone is gesturing while talking and making a point, you can be still and attending. When it is your turn to speak, you can make your comments and your point using the same, or similar gestures.

There are other types of matching:
    CROSS-OVER MATCHING is choosing to match one of your behaviours to a corresponding, but different movement of another.

    For example, if a person is blinking rapidly, you may cross-over match by discreetly tapping your finger at the same rate as they are blinking; or pace the rhythm of someone's speaking with slight nods of your head or your breathing.

    MISMATCHING is also a useful skill to master. Have you ever had someone go on and on and on when having a conversation with them...when you wonder if they will ever stop talking?

    You can break eye contact, turn your body at an angle to them, breathe faster or slower in contrast to their short, do anything to break rapport by mismatching. You will be surprised how quickly and easily the conversation will draw to a close.
You will find you hear and observe other people in more detail as you learn these basic rapport skills. Paying attention to others in this way is a process of building trust, and the more elegantly you mirror, match and cross-over match, the more your customers will turn into "raving fans."


When speaking to family members or business colleagues, find a specific behaviour or movement to focus on and match or cross-over match. You might select one behaviour per day to practice until you can build a whole repertoire of rapport skills.

You might:
    Use your hand movement to pace another persons breathing.
    Move your foot to pace another person's head movements.
    Tilt your shoulders slightly as the other person tilts their head.
    Lift a finger as the other person lifts an eye-brow.

And feel free to create your own cross-over matching techniques! Also remember to practice mismatching, but be sure to end the interaction in a state of rapport.


Some people feel they just have to match and mirror.

A young woman who matched and mirrored constantly was sitting across from a colleague who was tired of being mimicked. The colleague slid down in his chair, and of course she did the same. Then the colleague slid down even farther. She did the same. Finally, one slide too many, and the woman literally fell on the floor! Her colleague, conscious of his mirroring, remained in his chair.


Notice the difference these rapport skills will have in your life. Whether the context is flirting, interviewing, selling, or being granted an audience with a princess, you can make the choice to improve your communication skills using NLP. Next month we introduce you to "I See, Hear and Feel What You Mean: Representational Systems."

Penny Tompkins & James Lawley
Penny and James are supervising neurolinguistic psychotherapists – first registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy in 1993 – coaches in business, certified NLP trainers, and founders of The Developing Company.

They have provided consultancy to organisations as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline, Yale University Child Study Center, NASA Goddard Space Center and the Findhorn Spiritual Community in Northern Scotland.

Their book,
Metaphors in Mind
was the first comprehensive guide to Symbolic Modelling using the Clean Language of David Grove. An annotated training DVD, A Strange and Strong Sensation demonstrates their work in a live session. James has also written (with Marian Way) the first book dedicated to Clean Space: Insights in Space. Between them Penny and James have published over 200 articles and blogs freely available on their website:
Article Series
This article is part 3 of a 4 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. What is NLP?
  2. Change Your Thinking - Change Your Life
  3. Rapport: The Magic Ingredient
  4. I See, Hear, and Feel What You Mean
 »  Home  »  NLP  »  Introductory NLP  »  Rapport: The Magic Ingredient
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