Have you ever had a conversation with someone and instantly felt tuned in or on the same wave length? Well, this clicking is not just a manner of speech we use to describe a conversation when it is particularly productive and easy flowing, nor is this something that only occurs in romantic films. Rather, clicking in is a real, measurable and validated experience supported by neuroscience.
Clicking speechlessly as is often the case when people report being on the same length is called interpersonal synchronisation. Synchrony refers to matching states between you and the person you are talking to, in terms of speech rhythms, body language, what draws your attention, feelings and thoughts inside the brain. This is more than just showing empathy and putting yourself in their shoes. It is about sharing information through the mind without speaking, making a mental connection and truly understanding where the other person is coming from.
But how is it possible for our brains to literally be tuned in to each other through having a simple conversation? When synchronisation happens, a form of resonance is created in the parts of the brains that responds to the actions of others. This neural synchrony can occur in all mundane situations. From one person telling a story and the other listening; to feeling the same sensations as your partner when they experience them.
Two brains are better than one
In everyday situations, we quickly perform complex activities and coordinate our actions appropriately. However, some tasks can benefit from the involvement of others, after all, two brains are better than one. In fact, scientists have found we transmit signals from one brain to another, allowing neural processes to mirror each other. This builds a social network, allowing us to solve problems and perform behaviours that cannot be done so individually. So next time you find yourself in a team situation that is challenging, encourage a moment of connectedness with others and you might find your brains become linked and more successful at finding a solution.
There are some people you will instantly have the magic moment with and connect to, however, it is also possible to increase your chances of clicking with others. In the work place, it is likely you will find yourself working with individuals you may feel are completely different to yourself. Instead of feeling in-sync it is likely individuals report not clicking, experiencing long awkward pauses, and a failure to find the same things interesting. However, it is possible to improve good vibrations between colleagues. People thrown together by forces beyond their control whilst initially do not see the world the same way, can come to do so. Studies have shown that feelings of connectedness come when people have postures, vocal rhythms, facial expressions and eye blinks that match their own. So control the controllables, such as posture, expression, tone and the like. You may be surprised to find that fostering these will lead to adopting other people’s views, seeing the world in their way and experiencing more magic moments.
Responding to the world in the same way underlies the phenomenon of clicking. It explains why might find yourself laughing at the same thing with some people, able to chat about the same topic for long periods of time, or more easily see the logic to one side of an issue. When individuals interpret and respond to the world through clicking, they are more easily able to predict other’s behaviours and thoughts. This in turn makes it is easier to interact and communicate, fostering enjoyment and friendships with others. So challenge yourself this week to have a conversation with someone you may not feel those good vibrations with at first. Focus on their expressions and truly understand how they are feeling. Be responsible for creating and encouraging your own magic moments.