Ever order food in a restaurant only to have the server respond by saying “ok” or “coming right up?”
How does this make you feel?
At first glance, you may think you feel indifferent about receiving either one of those responses but subconsciously you would probably prefer if they repeated the order back to you. At least that’s what the subjects in Rick van Barren’s case study showed.
In fact, diners in one restaurant increased their tip sizes by nearly 70% simply because the server repeated the order back to them.
Can you imagine increasing the amount of money you receive each day by simply changing a few words? This is extremely powerful.
Aside from the element of interest displayed by ensuring the order is correct, the server is also mirroring the diner.
Similar to matching, mirroring is basically when you align your actions or movements with that of your target and countless studies have proven how effective it is.
Take the experiment by social psychologists Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh where one group of research assistants were asked to mirror the posture and behavior of subject while another group was told not to.
When the study concluded, the participants who were paired with an assistant who mirrored felt that interactions went smoother than those who were paired with assistants that did not.
Another researcher by the name of William Maddux and his colleagues conducted a set of experiments on mirroring during negotiation sessions. During the trial MBA students were either asked to subtly mirror their partner or not mirror them at all.
The results showed that the group who mirrored were 67% likely to reach a deal whereas the group who didn’t mirror was only 12.5% likely.
Mirroring creates connection through similarity. When we feel similar to someone, we are more likely to open up to them because we feel comfortable around them. Oftentimes, it’s the details that we disclose during a state of comfort that allow agreements to be reached.
Aside from that, when we feel similar to someone we are more open to their point of view and more likely to accept their opinions.
Never underestimate the power of mirroring. It continues to prove itself over and over again.