Change Psychology: Communication Accommodation Theory

recently wrote about building up a resource for Change knowledge here within this very Blog. Finally I got the time to deal with some basic psychological questions of Change. I am looking forward to be able to share those insights on “Change Psychology” with you, here.

When we talk with other people, we will tend to subconsciously change our style of speech (accent, rate, types of words, etc.) towards the style used by the listener. We also tend to match non-verbal behaviors.

This signals agreement and liking. It should create greater rapport and them such that they approve of us more.
This can be unwelcome, especially if it is perceived as aping or being overly familiar.
The reverse also happens: people deliberately assert their identity by speaking and acting differently from the other person.
Communication Accommodation Theory used to be called Speech Accommodation Theory.

Using it
Be a chameleon! Copy the other person’s modes of speech (but not so much you sound like a mimic). Also listen to how they are copying you: it may be a signal that they are seeking your approval.

If it seems like a person is trying to copy you, change how you are speaking and see if they follow. If they do, have fun! Try some subtle and weird variations and see if they will follow you to the ends of the linguistic earth.

Psychology of Change (Picture source: article taken from
Psychology of Change (Picture source:
Original article taken from

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