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Mirroring in Business: Cheers, Greetings, or Lata’ Bro

There are many ways to approach a publisher when you’re starting to build a relationship with them. Many psychological studies have confirmed that mimicking the body language of a person you are talking to makes them more comfortable. When working with a new publisher or editor I tend to mirror the language that they use. This is not only to make them feel more comfortable but also to make sure there isn’t a chance of them being offended if I am too casual.

In industries like Internet Marketing, relationships are started, developed, and ended without ever meeting in person, but you can still learn a lot about who that person is by their online conversations. The types of people you will communicate with online fall into four categories: formal, average Joe or Jane, overseas contact, and bro/lady-bro.

Formal Businessperson

monocle-guyThese people are generally very accomplished in their respective fields. They have dedicated their lives to this field and give their advice and pass on their knowledge through blogging or consulting. When in communication with this publisher, stay as formal as possible with your language by saying things in a similar fashion. If the publisher refers to you as Mr. or Mrs., you should refer to them as the same. As far as the salutation, mimic this as best that you can whether it is “Greetings” or “Best.” This will leave no chance of being perceived as too casual or even disrespectful.

Average Joe/Jane

This person is often a “Mommy blogger” or somebody running a blog because they want to be heard or make the most of a hobby. They can usually be approached in a much more casual way. They appreciate compliments on their blogs since this is something that they put in their time into for free. Once you are familiar with the blogger, you can feel out the best way to talk to them. The key to successful mirroring in business is to adapt to the person with the higher status. For example, an interviewee should stay formal unless their future employer becomes more casual. The publisher should set the tone over the contributor for the relationship.

As for the salutation, I tend to mention the weekend or the big holiday coming up. Avoid following up with these bloggers on the weekends as their blog oftentimes takes a backseat to other activities.


shutterstock_109831892Younger generations tend to be more casual when dealing with business. Some do a majority of their work on-the-go via a mobile phone or tablet. Do not assume that because someone is young you can be casual with them.  Wait for the publisher to make the first casual conversation starter, whether this is “what’s up” or “later” during the salutation or signing off with his or her first name.

Staying formal after the publisher is casual with you can make them uncomfortable and it’s just as bad to keep addressing him or her as sir or ma’am after they’ve started addressing you as “bro.” This is because they put out a friendly gesture by talking to you as a friend and you turned it down by making it a business-only relationship.

Overseas Contact

I tend to be very clear and to the point when dealing with International businesspeople because sometimes English is not their first language. Using phrases that are like “dropping the ball” or the “hitting two birds with one stone” can make them confused or even feel alienated. If the publisher ends an email with “cheers” I tend to mirror this to make the publisher feel comfortable.

tommyIf you haven’t tried it, mirror the language of others to make them feel comfortable. This will improve your success in the business world by putting the your coworkers, clients and supervisors at ease.

About the author

Tommy Wyher