Ship30for30 Day 5 - Mirrors, not just for self-care

Fri, Feb 19, 2021 2-minute read

Mirrors, not just for self-care If you have a moment, think about the last conversation you had.

Did the other person feel listened to and valued?

Were you able to understand the other person’s goals and needs?

Next time, try mirroring in the conversation. Mirroring is the repetition of one to three words of someone’s thought.

Here’s a great example from season 1 episode 2 of “The Expanse”:

Jim Holden: "Hey, what's the deal with you and Naomi?      You two an item or something?"  

Amos Burton: "An item?"

“An item?” is an example of a mirror by Amos; the character took a couple of words from the previous thought and converted the phrase to a quick question. The key to mirroring is the slight upward inflection at the end of the repeated words.

Typically, the other person will clarify or expand on the idea or emotion being mirrored. There are people who will plow through the mirror, because they weren’t listening, already committed to saying a thought, don’t care about you, etc. My recommendation, if this happens, is to listen to what the other person is saying and not-saying, then use a mirror, label, ask an interrogative-led question or another skill.

This seemingly simple skill is a great way to build trust, understanding, and value. It shows you care enough about their thoughts to listen, participate in the conversation, and learn more about them.

Word of caution: don’t overuse mirrors; you’ll sound crazy. Interweave mirrors with other skills.

Try it out in your next conversation! It will feel awkward…I promise no one will notice.

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