Chameleon Effect: unintentional mirroring
Prince William and Kate demonstrating the Chameleon Effect with their wave

The chameleon effect also called unintentional mirroring, is hardwired into the brain. The chameleon effect refers to our unconscious matching of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of our social environment. It has evolved as a way to help us get along with others.

One of the most noticeable forms of mirroring is yawning – one person starts and others follow.

The perfect description of the chameleon effect is the cliché saying:

“Imitation is the best form of flattery.”

Mimicking another’s body language increases our likeability. A study by Bargh & Burrows found those who pay more attention mimic more and make more friends in the process.

By mimicking other people’s actions, we cause them to develop positive feelings toward us. Mimicry is not only for face-to-face encounters.

Applying the Chameleon Effect

Mimicry is a form of social glue. When we mimic the same behavior as our customers, it helps us understand how they feel. Additionally, it makes them feel better and enjoy the interactions with your company more.

Question: When we can’t see our customers (e.g., online sales), does the Chameleon Effect still work?

Yes and here are three things you can do:

1 – Go to Quora. Understand the questions people are asking in your niche.

  • Does your website, blog and support documents address their concerns?
  • Are you making them feel at ease when they visit your site?

2 – Follow your prospects on Twitter and Instagram.

  • What words and phrases are your prospects and customers using?
  • Do they match how you talk to them through your sales material, blog, website, etc.?

3 – Start a dialogue. Ask your customers to describe your product or service in their words. Monitor your brand to see how the press describes your products to their audience.

Now when you communicate with your customers, incorporate the words and phrases they use. Make the necessary changes to your website.

Mirroring is the most important lesson you can learn because it’s a clear way you can tell customers and prospects you like them.