The chances are that someone has done this to you already, and you didn’t notice. When you mirror someone, you repeat the last thing they said back at them, prompting them to keep talking.
I know from personal experience that it is handy.
While it sounds like something that would be incredibly annoying, but we promise: you’ll be amazed at the effectiveness of this simple trick.
Whenever you are in conversation, and someone shares something from their life, repeat the most important three words back at them with a downwards (not upwards!) inflection.
Doing this will keep them talking and usually get them to reveal information they didn’t think it necessary to give you initially. Sometimes this little bit of data will be just what you need to move things forward. It will also help the speaker bond with you and create a sense of connection. Sharing is the road to care.
Incidentally, mirroring is also one of the best ways to convince people who have a strange position towards stuff like vaccines, the curvature of the earth, or anything else. By enticing people to explore and articulate their ideas in detail, they have no choice but to put them into words and move them into another part of their brain.
This other part of the brain is driven by logic. Consequently, unfounded assumptions are more easily detected here.
To phrase it more simply: when people talk, they also listen to themselves.
For speakers, mirroring is very useful during early negotiation to create a bond, but it will also do at the negotiation table. If your opponent is stubborn on something, don’t argue, mirror them. Explore their idea together; more often than not, this will be precisely the magic sauce you need to get from a to b.