Picking up Other Peoples Mannerisms in the Workplace

Do you pick up other peoples mannerisms?

Have you ever found yourself saying or doing something that your significant other always does? It may not even be a significant other; it could be a friend, work colleague, or even someone you have just met. Mimicking and picking up other peoples mannerisms is a psychological phenomenon which we all experience, as mimicry is part of human nature.

Humans are social creatures, and the number one way subconsciously to get people to like you is by copying the positive traits of the people around you. Humans tend to do this instinctively without even thinking about it when having an interesting conversation with someone.

This tendency to mimic other people can be shortcircuited sometimes with hilarious/horrifying results. We get creeped out by people who act too much like us, or who mimic traits we’re not exactly proud of (because it hits too close to home). And that’s before you even get into how a group can completely transform someone, just by manipulating their natural desire to fit in.

I personally know I do this on a regular basis. Psychology and human behaviour is something that has always fascinated me so I have read up on things like this. What this means is that quite often I will be having a conversation with someone and realise part way through that I am mimicking them. This then makes me feel awkward as I try to stop myself doing it, probably making me look awkward in the process!

But picking up other peoples mannerisms in the workplace is extremely common, and indicates that you are comfortable in your environment and enjoying your job. If you don’t see this trait in yourself, perhaps it’s time to look for a new role?

‘Fake it till you make it’

If you’re starting a new role in a new sector, mimicry can sometimes be your saviour. ‘Fake it till you make it’ is a well known saying, and although you can’t realistically fake your way through a new job, you can fake confidence. Even if you don’t feel confident, fake it enough times and it will become real.

When I started a new role in a new sector, I was extremely nervous, and at first it really helped me to feel more confident by mirroring others and almost copying certain aspects of their behaviour. An example of this is making calls to businesses and not being sure what to say. I used to sit next to a guy who was really confident and so would listen to him and then use certain phrases and one liners that he would use, as I felt they sounded really good. This in turn helped to build my confidence.

So picking up other peoples mannerisms in the workplace, and in other aspects of your life is simply part of human nature, it is what we are wired to do. If you can learn to control it you can only add to your employability.

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