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    Kol Drake


    Those pesky Jedi; always finding ways to mess with our minds. Moving rocks, confusing local authorities, hopping about with those glow sticks. Not everything is a Force related skill set BUT, you can learn some ‘stuff’ which can seem like those Jedi Mind Tricks which can be handy ‘tools’ in your personal Jedi skill set.

    Perception is an interesting thing. We are constantly monitoring the world around us, both consciously and unconsciously / subconsciously. We perceive threats, make assumptions and choose our behaviors as a result of that which we perceive to be true. With that statement — one has to ask: Can you alter the perceptions of those around you in a potentially volatile situation? Can you increase your chances of being successful if you are forced to fight by mentally ‘un-preparing’ your opponent? I believe that you can so, I am adding this to the WWTF series.

    We each carry ourselves in a certain way. A big part of avoiding a violent encounter is how you act and move. Walking with confidence, looking around, and simply paying attention to the world around you is one of the most important and effective methods to avoiding being targeted for violence.

    For several years while growing up I ‘fit’ the bill for being ‘the easy target’ — slightly short and pudgy; the new kid in town; did not travel in ‘packs’; did not walk around with ‘confidence’ — so I kind of had a bulls eye painted on my back and those looking for ‘targets’ found me soon enough. In high school it was ‘extra thin, tall, glasses and a ‘geek target’… so something seemed to never change. (At least until college when I started taking martial arts… then I could walk across campus in my ‘jammies’ (gi, etc.) and suddenly — with a more confident step and all that comes with seeing Bruce Lee’s films a good dozen times or more — no more target (( or maybe just a littler one. )))

    Have you ever met someone and they seemed quite intimidating, either by their size or by the way they carried themselves? You thought “Yikes, I wouldn’t want to tangle with them!” Now, have you ever gotten to know that person only to discover that they are a teddy bear, not intimidating at all? Your perception of them has changed by getting to know them. They haven’t changed, it’s your view of them that has been altered. Same the other way. Someone you first thought was ‘safe’ and ‘easy going’ turns out to be more of a pot ready to boil over and burn everyone around them.

    In many situations, you can manipulate other people’s perceptions of you. Not quite Jedi mind control, but it can be done. I’ve seen small people seem much larger because they carried themselves with a high degree of confidence. I’ve seen big people that seemed small and meek by the way they acted and moved.

    You can actually appear to be more of an impressive force simply by believing that you are. Similar to chest-puffing and strutting in the animal world, you can look like a potential victim or an in-charge individual not to be trifled with. This takes a bit of work, but it’s actually pretty easy. Of course, along with awareness and confidence, you can manipulate the perceptions of others in a more subtle way.

    One of the important lessons that I learned early on in my ‘career’ was that it is pretty easy to ‘jack’ someone up (pushing all the ‘get them pissed’ buttons), making a bad situation worse. I also learned that while it was possible to calm people down through the use of words, it’s also possible to affect the outcome of a charged situation through the strategic use of body language. Words can sooth; can cut deep; can incite anger and a good joke can defuse even the worst situation(s) (( most times )).

    You can alter other people’s perception of what level of threat you might present to them. Not just a physical threat, but as a threat to their goals (whatever they might be). I’m referring mainly to dealing with people that did not want the police to be dealing with them, but this can just as easily be translated to anyone that is in a position where they are dealing with conflict or crisis and cannot simply walk away. Police, military, security, ambulance personnel, and health care providers all fit the bill, to name a few.

    heh… you can learn that you can have the ability to control time. Slow things down by the way you walk and talk and act. How? By becoming the ‘lumbering bear (or wookie)’. Since my early years of being a human target, I grew about a foot and got some martial arts training under my belt and — well, bulked up while in the service. (( and, after another 3 decades, have ‘bulked up’ a bit more then that… )) ANYWAY, I’m a fairly big guy, so any strategy I used had to take into account that fact that I was physically bigger than a lot of people I dealt with. Sometimes sheer size is an advantage, but sometimes it can illicit hostility or what I sometimes call the “little man” syndrome. Some people simply wanted to ‘test’ the big guy. Add that to an already emotionally charged situation, and sometimes it resulted in a situation escalating rapidly, which is what I did not want.

    As Qui Gon Jinn stated, “There is always a bigger fish.” I’m broad and ‘big’ but I am no weight lifter nor ready to jump into some free-style fighting ring. I know a few moves and actions but I am no Bruce Lee (( geez… I wish )). Instead of being a ‘brute force’ / battering ram/ pro football player kick butt, I instead learned to slow down. I move a bit slower, made my movements more deliberate and talk a little bit slower and softer…. sometimes so low that folks accuse me of whispering (( even when it seems like I’m speaking pretty loud to myself! )) Not so much that it appeared I was being obtuse or insulting towards an individual, but everything I did was just that little bit less rushed. The key was making it imperceptible to others. The more I worked on it, the more I could see that my demeanor caused the people I was dealing with to calm down. I appeared less threatening to those often ‘full of testosterone’ individuals.

    It must be understood that this style or strategy cannot be applied to all situations. In fact, there are many instances where you have to ramp up and take immediate and decisive action to avoid a situation from getting much, much worse. This strategy is for those times when a situation is emotionally charged but has not hit a tipping point. Those times when a situation can go either way, depending on what is said and done. And, in a pinch, I can go into ‘overdrive’ and surprised the heck out of those who ‘assumed’ I was only stuck in ‘slow gear!’

    Of course, the key to being the lumbering wookie (or bear) is to remain ready to react even if it did not look like I was. So even though I might lean against a wall, giving the impression that physical conflict was the last thing on my radar, I was actually primed to respond instantly if needed. (( a bit of the ninja concept of ‘looks can be deceiving’ ))

    I suppose another advantage of my deliberately slow actions, speech and relaxed movement was that I was perceived as being slower than I was. This is an important part of the process. When my words and body language were unsuccessful in resolving a situation and the other person forced a violent encounter, they tended to underestimate my level or awareness. They did not anticipate any readiness on my part. They were so confident that their attack would be successful, and that the lumbering bear would be too slow to react, that without realizing it, they telegraphed their intentions and their attack. This allowed me to react so quickly that the attacker was often confused as to what had happened, unclear how I had turned the tide on them when they were so certain of a quick victory. I had, to a certain degree, slowed and then sped up time, to my advantage of course. If enough time had passed during the lead up, I had actually started to make the other person mirror my actions and deportment, slowing them down, without them realizing it.

    Again, this lumbering ox method only works in certain situations and it doesn’t always work. The point of this post is to illustrate that it is possible to alter other people’s perceptions of you by how you act and the image you project. In communication, only a very small part of a message is actually communicated through the use of words. The vast majority of what you are communicating comes from your body language. So if the way you carry yourself is responsible for the majority of your message, what is it that you want to be saying?

    By being aware of your own self, and projecting your thoughts and will, you can control how you appear to the rest of the world. Knowing this can make you less likely to be labelled or perceived as a victim.

    Kol Drake
    Obi Wan Kenobi: These are not the droids you’re looking for.
    Trooper: These are not the droids we’re looking for.

    OWK: He can go about his business.
    Trooper: He can go about his business.

    OWK: Move Along.
    Trooper: Move Along. Move Along.

    — Star Wars Episode IV 1977

    Later Obi-Wan explains that The Force has a great influence on the Weak Minded.

    The easiest way to perform the Jedi Mind “Trick” is to behave as if everything is normal. It is even better if you believe everything IS normal. People are remarkably afraid of confrontation that may backfire; the potential embarrassment of making a mistake – that everything is in fact normal – coupled with their own uncertainty of what is normal will leave you to go about your business.

    A movie example is James Bond (although I prefer an older ‘spy game’, Our Man Flint). They walk into a building and act like they belong. Of course this does not work well when Mr. Bond is in a formal tuxedo and all the locals are in jumpsuits or in military garb. But, the ability to ‘blend in’ is as much a ‘mind game’ (heck, even a ninja skill) as having some mystical ‘power’ to make it work. Attitude and appearance can get you a long way before the alarms start blaring.

    Feed into people’s assumptions and/or use the power of the “Someone Elses Problem” field. Clipboard, coveralls and confidence can get you anything from passwords to large color TVs. Have the right attitude: slightly bored or distracted. I have seen this in play — an individual wearing a haircut and clothing that blends in, and that indifferent attitude and the look on the face that no one later remembers, this individual was basically able to walk through walls, over and over. Don’t condone it, but have witnessed it over and over. All illusions and fading into the group/background, appears as if stuff happens/disappears by magic. Later, I was able to wander about some moderate level offices and military installations and never got stopped once… it’s almost scary how a ‘mindset’ can keep you almost invisible in a way.


    Mis-direction… Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
    People tend to notice things they are looking for and once they do not find it (or even better, they do find it) they ignore everything else. So if you want to slip something by someone, make sure they catch you on something that does not matter, and they will not focus on what you’re hiding.

    The story behind this is that in Berlin while the wall was up, there was this smuggler who used to ride, every day, from East Berlin into West Berlin (or perhaps it was vice versa, I don’t remember) with a bag of sand on the back of his bicycle. Every time, the checkpoint guards would cut open the bag of sand, search through it, find nothing, and let him go on his way. And every night he would return.

    They never realized that he was smuggling bicycles. :)


    If you are trying to find something, try looking right to left as opposed to left to right. Your eyes tend to skim over things if you search in the direction you are used to reading in, so skim the opposite way. It takes me a bit more effort to do this, but I notice more details.

    (( and of course, if you are from a culture that reads and writes right to left; swap to left to right.. just sayin… ))

    Being able to ‘trick’ the brain to get out of it’s rut is an easy way to ‘gain powers’ of observation.


    Listening…. can you hear me now?
    In high school, I was not exactly Mister Charisma nor a Top Jock. Heck, I did not properly fit into the standard Geek set either. A couple of things I was good at (then) was standing quietly and listening. Folks would chatter away and not less then 3 minutes later, I could chime in to the conversation and insert a tidbit they had spoken — and they would act like I had done some kind of mind magic ‘knowing stuff’ I wasn’t supposed to know. Freaky since they had actually said it right out loud to their friends but… the mind plays some weird tricks. Of course, this did not improve my ‘ratings’ in high school… just added the title “that weird guy who seems to be able to read minds…” Careful since some get impressed and others get pissed that you ‘know’ something they thought was personal/private even when they are blabbing it all over the halls.


    Once upon a time, a college class for intro psychology decided to ‘do’ an experiment on their own professor. This particular prof was known to talk and pace back and forth in front of the students as he hand waved through his lectures. So, they set up the experiment… they would look bored or non attentive until the prof was on the far left hand side of the classroom. Then they would look attentive and take notes and seem ‘involved’ with the lecture. In less then a week, the prof was basically walking two steps back and forth on the far left side of the classroom. ‘Automatic’ / unconscious response conditioning.

    Can also be done using eye contact, body stance, head nods, etc. We ‘read’ bodies as much as ‘hear words’ so it can influence others easily.

    In a similar vein, if you ask a question, and receive only a partial answer, respond with polite silence. Simply wait. A more complete answer will usually follow. This works wonders in face to face conversation. Just look at them and wait — many people can not stand the void/silence and will fill it with more information. Typically you only have to use this on someone once or twice before they learn their lesson and speak in complete sentences when they talk with you. It really is like magic. Silence is so psychologically commanding.

    Again, in high school, I had one casual ‘friend’ who made it a habit… he would only speak to you IF you were looking him in the eyes. If your eyes wander off or looked elsewhere, he would immediately stop, mid sentence and wait for you to ‘re focus’ on him. That ‘professor’ trick in another setting. I learned to ‘focus’ until we were done interacting.


    If you are in a crowded social group, restaurant, bar, party etc. and you want to know if someone is checking you out try this:

    Turn sideways from them (they will be either 90 degrees right or left of you), then very obviously, look at your watch (even if you don’t wear one, lift your wrist) then point at your watch and nod thoughtfully. Over acting is perfectly acceptable.

    If they are keeping tabs on you, even peripherally, they will have a sudden urge to know the time and will either look at their own watch, cell phone, or casually look at the various obvious places where someone would put a clock.

    It’s a bit of the old ‘stage magician’ / con artist / car salesman trick. By implanting a trigger (clock and pointing) you are setting their mind to ‘do’ a clock check. It’s how those tricky street magic guys can call out colors or numbers ‘like magic’ — since they pretty much set you up with key words to guide your selection from the get go.


    Okay, so most of these things are NOT really mind tricks… they are just tricks of the mind. Still, learning these little ‘tricks’ can move others to do things or say things or help in ways they might not have initially. Now, with a few ‘well chosen words’, some body language and perhaps some well focused ‘will and intent’, you might be able to get those stormtroopers to take you out to dinner as well as ignore your droids!

    Kol Drake

    I suppose most would prefer ‘mystical warrior / ninja’ mind tricks. I admit, I do too though ‘practical’ mind games do come in handy. BUT, the semi ninja stuff is just darn cool…

    First — what is a Jedi?
    The Jedi have both fighting ability and a high level of extrasensory acuity, which grants them a psychological as well as physical “edge” in any combat. They not only possess the”strength of ten because their hearts are pure,” but their calm in the face of the storm often determines the outcome. Jedi are beings of peace even though they train ‘as if’ going to battle.

    Beyond this, Jedi are also adept at field-craft, infiltrating, and espionage.. er, diplomacy. Because of their scouting skills and peripheral kinesthetic sensitivity, Jedi customarily surprise their opponents more often then not. This may be a result of creeping up on the enemy and striking swiftly, or of using a feint or sucker punch when fighting head-on. Much of this ability is due to constant and rigorous training, as well as a vast amount of study. After that, the Jedi tends to create his own form.

    Other benefits of being a Jedi include the power to size up an opponent by his stance, and the concurrent knack of reading the body language of others, which enables the Jedi to determine the covert goal of an individual. By these means, the Jedi develops a sphere of influence within which relative safety can be maintained.

    A well trained Jedi also has the ability to treat their own wounds, the minor injuries that are incurred by even the most scrupulous and careful practitioner in the course of training. With that, they also have the power to help others. Most common ailments are avoided by virtue of regular exercise and attention to diet, so good health follows naturally.

    After a certain level of experience has been attained, the Jedi gains the ability to employ powers that in many circles would be considered almost psychic / mystical / magical. The charisma of such a Jedi is such that he attracts to himself, without effort, a body of followers. These followers may appear as students or associates; they just ‘feel’ how the Jedi is one to be near and to ‘follow’.

    Kol Drake

    So, that was a ‘Jedi in a nutshell’ — and I am certain I left out plenty more descriptive details… But, on to the ‘mind tricks’ —

    To develop the talents associated with the mystic side of Jedi training, in addition to possessing strength, one must “know.” To know means to have intelligence. This does not refer to the I.Q. so often quoted as a measure of intellect, but rather to an understanding or ability to learn.
    Many people limit themselves to leading boring, dull lives by accepting the judgment of others that they are of low intelligence. This is not so. Just because one does not process sensory information and replay it the same way as everyone else — which in any case would be boring in the extreme and mark the extinction of creativity — does not mean that there is a lack of comprehension or interest. Just because a person does not understand someone else’s purpose does not mean that they are confused.

    The Jedi possess mental powers of an informational, offensive, or defensive nature; but it is only during the latter stages of training that these techniques actually become effective in hand-to-hand combat. That is to say, after much practice one is able to defeat the enemy without physical contact. By that time, the padawan has mostly transcended motives that would land him in a situation where these paranormal powers would be warranted.

    Jedi ‘mysticism’ may take many forms. The simple form makes it possible to deflect negative vibrations and defend oneself against psychological assault merely by maintaining one’s emotional balance. The more complex forms as used in many martial arts (ninjitsu, etc.) require mantras, somatic components, and elaborate rituals for maximum efficiency. The individual must first determine the methodology of his or her own psychological thought forms or constructs. Work with what ‘works’ for you.

    Through the study of the martial forms, the Jedi hopes to gain control of their body and to hone it into a weapon which can never be ‘taken away’ during a battle. But, a Jedi is not doing this ‘just’ to walk about looking for fights. Nor to spend all their time fighting others’ battles. A Jedi aids when they can but must also be wise enough to know when a battle is not theirs to ‘fight’. It is why the Jedi also works on gaining knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom over time. At this level, the reverence for life becomes so great that the Jedi will no longer battle, and their powers are directed only toward revitalizing, protecting, and encouraging the efforts of others. The goal of the true seeker is to become wise, perhaps even a sage of sorts, at the very least, the best person one can hope to be.

    There are certain immutable laws of the universe, which the sage must be in harmony with. Different Jedi groups espouse some laws in particular, according them greater significance than the others. But each law is essential in its own right, and must be considered equal to the rest. With little extra effort, you can ‘see’ how these might be reflected in the creed we study here at the IJRS.

    The Law of Balance.
    Even the most ancient sages have pointed out that all things are possessed of an equal and opposite counterbalancing force in reality. The high rests upon the low;the front follows the back. One can know beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.

    The Law of Extremes.
    When two counterbalancing forces are carried to their limits, they are seen to be identical. One is blinded by a brilliant light as effectively as by darkness.

    The Law of Karma.
    All things are interrelated, and everything affects everything else. Thus whatever we send into the lives of others comes back into our own life.

    The Law of Change.
    All things proceed sequentially through an orderly series of progressive steps. The one thing that can be depended upon to remain constant is that things will continue to change in a logical and cyclical manner.

    A Jedi who has attained the level of ‘sage or mystic’ is so at peace and in harmony with the ways of Force (Nature) that he remains virtually untouched by the passage of time or the change of regimes. Such a mystic warrior views Yin and Yang as balancing forces of the universe and recognizes the endless cycle of change, inevitable and inexorable.

    The Jedi communicates with the Hidden Masters and is in touch with the “cosmic consciousness” by means of his ability to direct, or flow in harmony with, the psychokinetic energy of the mind and body as one. This is spoken of in many arts, but is achieved by few. It is often known as channeling the chi / vital life force / personal Force energies.

    Kol Drake

    “The Art of Fighting without Fighting”

    This refers to the Jedi’s talents and abilities that allow them to overcome the enemy with nonviolence. The Jedi at this level are the agents in the field who are masters of the bloodless coup, those who win without fighting,the magicians of the Force. Dexterity of mind AND body is their trademark; prestidigitation, or sleight of hand, might be a part of their magical working.

    While the warrior contends with force and strength, the mystic battles with cunning and stealth. These attributes comprise many also called, the Ninja art of invisibility. Ah, the Ninja — those guys and gals wearing black pajamas; hopping about the countryside doing stuff of legend. In actuality, they seldom wore black (or pajamas!) but they were highly skilled in the art of ‘not being noticed’. In Ninjitsu, dexterity is as much mental as physical. Much of this skill also depends on astute powers of observation and an understanding of basic motivations and social patterns. By these means, and the ability to remain unseen, the Ninja have gained a reputation for invisibility. A skill most Jedi can ‘pick up’ with some practice.

    So, how do we get in on this ninja action?
    In practical application, such techniques depend largely upon methods of concealing oneself in shadows or other inconspicuous cover. The Ninja must also maintain adequate balance to enable him to move silently from one point of hiding to another without detection. A useful adjunct to this type of activity is wall-climbing, a technique which enables the Ninja to ascend vertical surfaces quickly and quietly — a practical method of vanishing from view and danger. (( something you can see on YouTube as used by those practicing Parkour ))

    Ninja were once known as the men who could fight or vanish. Using the principle that the enemy could not hit what he did not see, the Ninja devised many methods of getting behind the opponent, thereby forcing him to look over his shoulder to catch sight of the agent. Not many people can fight well in that position. Then, too, an attack from behind is doubly effective since the adversary cannot adequately prepare for it or defend against it.
    Furthermore, Ninja are adept at dodging and evading the attacks of the opponent. This ability gives the accomplished Ninja a better than 50 percent chance of successfully avoiding a missile,such as an arrow or thrown dagger. This is true even if the missile is launched from out of sight, which would catch any normal man unawares. Most Ninja fight better unarmed. Striking with the hands and feet, as well as using throwing and falling techniques, enables the practitioner to initiate multiple attacks or to strike multiple opponents simultaneously. Such open-hand strikes may be sufficient to stun or kill the enemy with a single blow, unless he is of exceptional stature. (( NOT what you see in the movies where someone is kicked in the head, falls, and pops right back up to fight more. A ‘well rung bell’ takes time to clear… and many joint strikes tend to be incapacitating. ))


    Another means of being ‘invisible’ is to move silently. That means knowing how your body moves as well as proper breathing techniques and a balanced mind set and focus. Study of the Force along with practicing the exercises that develop conscious control of the energy centers of the body bring concurrently a subconscious knowledge and intuitive understanding of the forces of Nature (and the Force.) This enables the Jedi to develop certain powers that are latent in all humans.

    First, due to self-knowledge and confidence, the Jedi is resistant to most forms of flattery, suggestion, and intimidation. The ability to mask his mind against interrogation and conceal the true motive of an assignment evolves simultaneously, thus lending an implacable air of calmness to the Jedi’s demeanor.

    Second, by controlling his body, the Jedi can induce states of diminished respiration and heart rate sufficient to simulate hibernation or meditative healing ‘coma’. This is similar to the power of suspended animation attributed to the Hindu masters. With this, the Jedi acquires the skill of healing wounds by meditative means alone.

    These first two ‘powers’ lead to acquiring the power of empathy, not only with other people, but also with pets and wild animals. Some Jedi report a certain rapport even with plants. This enables the practitioner to move in harmony with Nature, thus rendering him invisible for all practical purposes (blending in with the overall Force environment.)

    For the Ninja, this leads to their final training stages wherein the Ninja learns to direct the energy of the earth and influence change in accordance with his will. This is the level of the “Vibrating Palm,” in which the mere wave of a hand may be sufficient to cause death, either instantly or on a delayed basis. This is the foundation of the dim mak or “death touch.” NOT something a Jedi really needs BUT… connecting with the Earth and the Force of All that surrounds us can help heal or distract or disable an opponent.

    Kol Drake

    This has been touched on in other posts and class lectures… still, being repeated does not make it less useful. Exercises for the mind, body (breathing and energy flow) are ‘stuff’ which help in honing “Jedi Mind Tricks” as well as your own latent powers.

    Mental Exercises
    Begin by sitting calmly in a dark room with one’s eyes closed. Make sure there is no noise or interference.
    (( heck, if you have to — use a pair of ear plugs to help block out the house noises ))

    Now imagine black empty space.
    Within this space a dot of brilliant light will appear, this light may grow brighter, but not bigger, or dimmer as you will it. But do not command it with “verbalized thought” (saying to do so in your mind). (( this is the hardest bit for me… since I have ‘running dialogues’ in my head all the time.))

    Now imagine, this dot moving into a circle faster & faster until it becomes a solid ring of golden light.
    This light then shifts between silver, mercury, copper or gold at your will.

    Now this level of exercise may not be easily obtained & will take time to achieve. Those who are not naturally ‘image minded’ might take longer to ‘get’ the knack of making pictures in their mind’s eye. Others might get it faster. Still, it’s all about practice. The more you practice; the longer you can hold the images and actions; the easier the later stuff will get.

    When the basic control of the ring is mastered you may begin the next level of training & mental growth.

    Now like the folding of paper, the ring should be willed to collapse within itself creating a ball.
    Now the ball may be moved at your command via your simple will power alone. This ball will change substance & color to whatever the student wills. In time this ball may become any object the student wills — a sword, a tea cup, a light saber or a model plane.

    After significant practice you should notice a more vivid flavor to your dreams. Your subconscious mind may more readily speak to you in your dreams & thoughts. Remembering images will come more easily, as will understanding the level of possibilities you can see in your daily life.

    This same ‘imaging’ skill comes in handy when working with the energies of the body and the environment. It really does pay to practice (not ‘do’ the 3 day monk routine…)

    Kol Drake

    I am working on some other ‘mind tricks’ which can aid in various ways… either with exercises/meditations or stuff you can play with in daily living.

    Reason why I put the stuff in the previous post was… it is something that comes in handy when you are trying to play like a ninja and ‘go invisible’ — which can be ‘just be stealthy’. Not just laying along a tree limb but becoming ‘a part of it’ by seeing yourself (sending mental signals out?) which say, I am just a tree limb. Or curled around a rock and being ‘seen’ as “I am a rock” rather then an odd shape next to a rock.

    Anyway… working on this bit.


    If you don’t mind some input, Kol, I found that studying nonverbal communications and body language are a strong asset in personal interaction, and my inspiration for studying them was the Jedi mind trick. The book I reviewed; “What EveryBODY is Saying” is a great tool in this area. As far as “Infiltration” goes, I’ve written my own piece on it in the Path of Heresy, which I’m in the process of posting, at long last.

    Kol Drake

    Input — no problem!

    There are a few threads and lessons in Communications which touch on ‘nonverbal’ communication and body language for ‘reading’ a partner or opponent.

    A 1970 study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania by Dr. Ray Birdwhistle concluded that 93% of our communication transpires non-verbally and unconscious. Such ‘tricks’ as Mirroring, Matching, Pacing and Leading enable one to become “like” the other person. Motivational Speaker, Anthony Robbins, stated: “People who like each other tend to be like each other.”

    Researchers at the Boston University Medical School studied films of people having conversations. The researchers noticed that the people talking began (unconsciously) to co-ordinate their movements (including finger movements, eye blinks and head nods.) When they were monitored using electroencephalographs, it was found that some of their brain waves were spiking at the same moment too. As the conversations progressed, these people were getting into rapport with each other.

    The key to establishing rapport is an ability to enter another person’s world by assuming a similar state of mind. The first thing to do is to become more like the other person by matching and mirroring the person’s behaviors — body language, voice, words etc. Matching and mirroring are powerful ways of getting an appreciation of how the other person is seeing / experiencing the world.

    For words, match predicates. If your partner is using mainly visual words, you should also use mainly visual words and similarly for auditory, kinesthetic and auditory digital words. As much as possible, you should also use the same words as the other person. For example, I may say something is ‘awesome’. In your model of the world, you may interpret ‘awesome’ as ‘outstanding’ and use this word when speaking to me. For me ‘outstanding’ may have a different meaning or evoke a different feeling than ‘awesome’. In this case, you would not be matching but mismatching my words. It is learning the other’s language ‘in their head’ which allows you to establish major communication ‘rapport’.

    Some people find the idea of matching another person uncomfortable and they feel that they are trying to fool or take advantage of the other person. Best to realize that matching is a natural part of the rapport building process and that you are doing it unconsciously every day with your close family and friends.

    Each day gradually increase your conscious use of matching at a pace that is comfortable and ethical for you. Matching done with integrity and respect creates positive feelings and responses in you and others. Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel you understand him, and that there is a strong connection between the two of you. Kind of like a Jedi Negotiator ‘getting to know’ the people they are trying to negotiate with.

    Kol Drake

    Gaining rapport — with a friend or family member or fellow worker or someone you barely know — is more a ‘trick of the mind’ rather then a ‘mind trick’… but the results can be almost as ‘spooky’. Being able to make someone feel ‘at ease’ is as handy as being able to read the ‘unrest’ in an opponent.

    And since I promised… here are actual exercises you can ‘do’ to see how this stuff works.

    Mirroring Exercise
    Mirroring is a method of building a strong “second position” with someone else. It is a fundamental skill for modeling another person and for developing intuitions about the person’s internal experience. To get a sense of the influence and effects of mirroring, try out the following exercise.

    1. Choose a partner, or person to converse with. Do not tell the person initially that you will be mirroring him or her during the conversation.

    2. Enter into a conversation with the person, asking for his or her opinions about various subjects.

    3. As you are conversing, begin to subtly mirror the other person’s physiology (including voice tone and tempo).
    [Hint: This can be most easily done in the context of ‘active listening’; that is, reflecting back statements the person has made, by commenting, “So what you are saying is….”, and then stating your understanding of the person’s opinion.]

    4. When you are fully mirroring, you will be sitting in the same posture, using the same types of gestures, speaking at a similar speed and volume, and in a similar voice tone range, as the other person. If you are completely mirroring the other person, you will even be breathing at the same rate and in the same part of the chest cavity as the other. Notice what it feels like when you have reached this level of rapport.

    5. One way to test your degree of rapport is by “second guessing” the other person’s opinion on a couple of subjects that you have not yet discussed. Often mirroring will give you access to information that is being unconsciously communicated and received, and you will “pick up” information about the other person without being consciously aware of how you got it. This is why mirroring is such a powerful tool for modeling.

    6. To get another sense of the influence of mirroring on your interaction, you can try out what it is like to abruptly mismatch the other person in posture, gestures, voice tone and breathing. Both you and your partner should experience quite a jolt if you do this, and feel as if your quality of rapport has changed dramatically.

    7. Before concluding your conversation and letting your partner in on what you were doing, make sure you have reestablished rapport by once again physically mirroring your partner.

    One way to help rapport to develop is to mirror the micro-behaviors of those we wish to influence. Any observable behavior can be mirrored, for example:

    Body posture
    Spinal alignment
    Hand gestures
    Head tilt
    Blink rate
    Facial expression
    Energy level
    Breathing rate
    Vocal qualities (volume, tonality, rhythm)
    Key phrases
    — plus anything else that you can observe…

    Exercise 1
    Practice mirroring the micro-behaviors of people on television (chat shows & interviews are ideal.) You may be surprised at how quickly you can become comfortable as you subtly mirror the behaviors of others. Watch actors who can ‘mimic’ someone else — say, the oft times weird delivery ‘style’ of one Captain James T Kirk (Star Trek). They do not have to look like him or be built like him but… with the right ‘jerky speech pattern’ and some specific lines (or his ‘music’ vocals)… he’s easy to identify. Same for those who mimic Johnny Carson from his years on the Tonight Show.

    Learning to mimic a style can be one of the keys to influencing people. It allows one to meet them at their map of the world (pacing) and then taking them where you want them to go (leading.) Rapport is a basic, behavioral signal that you have met someone at their map of the world. The simplest, most effective test for rapport is “if you lead, they follow.”

    Exercise 2
    Choose a safe situation to practice mirroring an element of someone else’s behavior. When you have mirrored them for a while, and think you are in rapport with the person, scratch your nose. If they lift their hand to their face within the next minute or so, congratulate yourself – you have led their behavior!

    This is similar to the ‘trick’ I posted before of looking at your watch and pointing at it… to see if someone is watching you. The non verbal ‘leading’ is a mind trick which works more times then not. Skilled communicators have a wide range of behaviors they can mirror to build rapport. You can find a way to mirror virtually anything you can observe.

    Exercise 3
    Increase the range of behaviors that you can mirror, and introduce deliberate rapport-building into situations where it will benefit you and others (Warning Will Robinson! Use your common sense and choose low-risk situations to practice in.)

    Many people (especially in the area of sales) are familiar with rapport-building techniques and are particularly aware of body posture mirroring. Cross-over matching involves matching another person’s behavior with a different behavior of your own (eg. matching their breathing rate to your head tilt, or their eye blinks to your foot-taps.) This is a way of building rapport that is very difficult to detect, and still highly effective. There are some YouTube and websites which ‘tell the secrets’ of how cars salespeople ‘win you over’… it’s some basic psychology and some of that nonverbal stuff… and it works!

    Exercise 4
    During a conversation with another person; choose one of their behaviors (eg. breathing rate) to cross-over match with one of your behaviors (eg. speaking rate.) Notice how quickly the sense of connection develops!

    To mirror another person, merely select the behavior or quality you wish to mirror, and then do that behavior. If you choose to mirror head tilt, when the person moves their head, wait a few moments, then move yours to the same angle. The effect should be as though the other person is looking in a mirror. When this is done elegantly, it is out of consciousness for the other person. However, a few notes of caution are appropriate:
    Mirroring is not the same as mimicry. It should be subtle and respectful.
    Mirroring can lead to you sharing the other person’s experience. Avoid mirroring people who are in distress or who have severe mental issues. Mirroring can build a deep sense of trust quickly, a responsibility to use it ethically.

    Mirroring is as if you were looking into a mirror. To mirror a person who has raised his right hand, you would raise your left hand (i.e. mirror image). To match this same person, you would raise your right-hand (doing exactly the same as the other person). Some practitioners see a time difference between mirroring and matching. For example, if someone makes hand gestures while they are speaking, you would wait until it was your turn to speak before making similar (matching) hand gestures.

    The fact that you’ve read this far means that you can see the benefits of increasing your rapport skills. Reading is sadly not enough – practice is the key to building skill, so as with nearly all we present at the IJRS… it does take practice to get ‘good’ at these things. When you first start the practice of mirroring, you may have to pay some conscious attention to what you are doing. After a while, however, you will start to catch yourself doing it unconsciously. This is where you really begin to build rapport elegantly!

    And at times when a gesture is idiosyncratic to that person or otherwise to obvious, you can do crossover matching. Meaning, if they adjust their glasses, and you don’t wear any, then just move your foot. When you crossover match/mirror, you match/mirror a portion of the other person’s body, with a different portion of your own body. This is best to do when you are matching someone’s rate of breathing. You can use your finger to pace the rhythm of their breath. When matching or mirroring someone’s voice, do that with their tonality, volume, and the rate at which they speak. And remember you do NOT have to do all of these things, just one or two will be enough to create rapport in most cases.

    Test Subjects… er, Helpful Participants
    You may wish to start with family members and begin to match different aspects of their posture, gestures, voice and words. Have fun with it and see if they notice what you are doing. At work or socially, start by matching one specific behavior and once you are comfortable doing that, and then match another. For friends with whom you really feel comfortable, notice how often you naturally match their postures, gestures tone of voice or words. Matching comes naturally, what you need to do is learn how to do it with everyone, then matching will become automatic whenever you wish to deepen your rapport with someone.

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