The skill of mirroring

Margo Groeneveld
01 Jun 2020

When was the last time you have had a challenging conversation with a coworker? Can you point out the reason why it was a challenging conversation? Hardly anyone I know enters a conversation for the sake of making it hard. Sometimes it is just difficult to hear what is actually being said.

And when people don’t feel heard, it can get more complicated to find common ground. Good news, there are some really simple tools out there that support safe and trusting conversations.


One of them is mirroring. Mirroring not just body language to create limbic synchronicity, but also mirroring what you have heard to other person say. Simple as that!

So for example, someone is telling you what they have gone through “I met with this person, we did this phase of the project together and the results were not what we were expecting”. Now you can dive into it or…

You respond with “I hear you saying you did this phase of the project with this person and didn’t get the results you were expecting”. And you have a whole kind of different conversation.

The depth of simplicity 

Mirroring requires for the listener to really listen, without making their own interpretations. Just yet. It creates a check-in and ensures common ground.

Mirroring makes the one sharing being heard. Sometimes just having reflected back your own words can create a world of insight. When in the middle of a conversation it’s also a beautiful way of slowing down a conversation, allowing for more presence and deeper listening. Or at the end of a conversation, making sure everyone is agreeing to the same thing.

Mirroring is a skill. If personal interpretations are showing up, it likely shows through the way words are reflected back. And catching that, can really help to create common ground too.

So, go practice!