Just Suppose & Level Up: Vagus Nerve – Conversation – Mirroring 2.22

The Vagus Nerve – Repeating Phrases – Mirroring & Matching

What Stays in Vagus…Might be Helpful

The Sympathetic Nervous System is the body’s Flight or Fight response system.  The Parasympathetic Nervous System helps the body return to a more typical state.  The Vagus Nerve (VN) is part of the Parasympathetic Nervous system.  There is a concept that “vagal tone” can be improved & will make one better prepared for stressful situations.  There are a few techniques that can be used to improve vagal tone.

  • Deep slow breathing from the diaphragm.
  • Humming, Chanting & Singing: The VN is attached to the vocal cords and muscles of the throat.  Gargling can also be included in this category.
  • Laughing and being in social environments.
  • Cold water on the face.
  • Relaxing the jaw.
  • Probiotics encourage gut bacteria which effects the VN to improve brain function.

Food high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

What they said… Conversation is a link to community and individuals.  We do tend to like to express our ideas, as you may have noticed here.  In fact, we like our expressions so much we tend to like those who repeat our words.  Can we use this idea to gain rapport with others?  Repeating the replies of others will typically be a method to build rapport.  When engaged in a conversation, simply repeat the other person replies. If the person says, “I like to ride horses,” then repeat “You like to ride horses.”  We can add to that reply with a question and then repeat the reply.

We certainly don’t want to do this as children sometimes will repeat speech as teasing.  However, this can be done thoughtfully during a conversation and the topic can always be expanded by sharing personal ideas.  Since most people like to share their thoughts, this conversational technique also allows us to focus on the other person and encourages our listening. Overall, this can help to improve our conversations with others when done with consideration of the other person ideas and interests.  You can help continue the conversation with phrases like “Tell me more” and “I like that.”

Imitation as the Highest Form of Flattery…

We tend to like people who are similar to us with sports teams being an obvious association.  And, in conversation with others we can develop a similar rapport by imitating the other person’s mannerisms.

Mirroring is a technique of copying the other person’s body position and movements.  If the person you’re talking with puts their left hand in their pocket, you might put your right hand in your pocket or even on your hip.  The technique should be subtle and respecting of the other person.  There are two benefits to mirroring.  The other person will feel more comfortable with you.  The second benefit is to become more attuned to the other person by observing their posture.  Both parties then may establish a deeper rapport while in the conversation. 

Another rapport technique is matching tone of voice and rate of speech.  When I’m in the New York Metro area, I tend to find myself lapsing into speech patterns I grew up with. Of course, only do this as much as reasonably possible using good judgement.  Imitating an accent, you don’t naturally have, may be inappropriate.  The above techniques are subtle and may help improve your communication with others.

Disclaimer: The “Just Suppose Newsletter & Blog” share ideas in exploring personal progress as derived from various sources.  It is intended as information only and is not intended as advice to engage in any specific physical or mental activity.  Always consider whether these ideas, concepts, techniques & activities are right for you & always confer with your health professionals.