Matching is exactly replicating another person's movements to gain rapport with them.
Eg: One person raises their left hand slightly. You match them by raising your left hand slightly.
Even from when we are young children we learn to match other peoples behaviour, we do it naturally. Have you ever heard a bunch of children talking? They all talk at the same speed (normally frantic), and the voices get louder and louder as they match each other. They are in rapport. They have an energetic connection with each other, they like each other.
As adults, of course, we retain these unconscious skills, and with people that we
know and like we will immediately get in rapport with them, talking about common interests, using common words, acting similarly and generally matching them.
When you meet people for the first time or people who you are not necessarily familiar with then there can sometimes be a bit of awkwardness in the communication. This awkwardness is because you are not yet in rapport with them. You can make sure that you get in rapport with anyone that you meet by following the NLP process of building rapport. One of the ways to build rapport is to match other people’s behaviour, breathing, the words that they use, their tone of voice, the speed of speech etc.
Matching is when a person matches or “paces” the verbal and non-verbal language of others to build rapport with them. This can be achieved by matching the posture, breathing pattern, gestures, voice tone, speaking speed,
and facial expressions. This can also be referred to as “pacing” or “mirroring”.
Matchers tend, initially, to agree with what you’re saying. Their first-expressed ideas tend to meld fairly cohesively with yours and they stay within the boundaries of the mental play area you’ve established. They will find
similarities in their situation, experiences and imagination.
What are the reasons for this?
Part of it may have to do with their desire to be liked and respected by you. Maybe that’s part of their culture or something they learned from their youth or family life. Perhaps it’s a bit of the wider culture - “go along to get along.” Or perhaps that’s just how they’ve trained their brain to work.
Mismatching in NLP is using different patterns or contradictory responses regarding behaviour or words to interrupt communication.
Sometimes in the training room, it is noticed that some people automatically mismatch what other people are saying, sometimes even the trainers.
Mismatching is the opposite of Matching. It is the process of adopting different patterns of behaviour in contradiction to another person, breaking rapport to redirect, interrupt or terminating a meeting or conversation.
Mismatching can be used at times when it’s appropriate to abruptly disrupt the rapport with another person. Depending on their personality and level of people skills, mismatchers may vary from being interesting to being annoying.
More self-aware or mature people know when finding fault is helpful, and when it is
useless or damaging.
A mismatcher finds (indeed, looks for) ways in which what you’ve presented is flawed. Generally, the first responses they give will be the exception to the rule, the slight ambiguity in the definition you are using, the potentially false premise you are basing your point upon. They may say, “Well, actually…” quite a bit.
Mismatchers seem to want accuracy, but more often they see their response as an opportunity to show how smart they are. When dealing with a mismatcher, you may find discussions are bogged down in details more than necessary. It may feel as if the other person is trying to prove how dumb you are—and this can derail efforts to successfully work together.