Yawning and Rapport

We’ve known for ages that a yawn is contagious. Someone in the group yawns and someone will yawn in return often instantaneously or within 5 minutes. The reason, we also know, is down to the desireto be alike, to be the equal, to create similarity.

Researcher’s in Italy’s Pisa University found that the “yawn transmission” was quicker amongst those that already had rapport – close friends and lovers.

The study, is based on a rigorous, behavioural data collection carried out for over one year on more than 100 adults, corresponding to more than 400 “yawning couples”. People have been observed in a wide array of natural contexts: during meals, on the train, at work, etc. Observations, carried out in Italy and Madagascar, have involved people of different nationalities, and with a different degree of familiarity: strangers and acquaintances (colleagues and friends of friends), friends, kin (parent/offspring, grandparent/grandchild, and siblings), and mates.

So it’s been scientifically proved that people who like other people want to be the same and that building a rapport can be accelerated by matching and mirroring the person you want to build rapport with.

So next time you’re in a situation where rapport will move the relationship further in the right direction follow this 5 minute induction whilst engaging in your first conversation.

  1. Shake hands with the person to calibrate their energy levels, and match energy
  2. Matching energy will allow you to match their voice – tone and pace.
  3. Calibrate their face first – smile, expressions and amount of eye contact – and match this
  4. Go peripheral in your vision to observe their overall physiology – body language – posture, position and match this.
  5. If their posture changes, delay the match for about 20 seconds
  6. Now pick up their gestures they use when speaking, notice them carefully and match these but only when you talk.
  7. When you have the rapport, you’ll know inside, to test you could alter your physiology a little and watch as they match you.

And if they yawn…don’t match this instead end the meeting because you’re boring them.