We all believe we are good listeners.  We may believe we have an innate talent for grasping the facts and feelings quickly, without having to talk about things over and over again. But we might want to consider paraphrasing, just to be sure.

Paraphrasing seems to take a lot of time and effort, however, it can actually save time, save relationships, and certainly save money, by preventing misunderstandings and mistakes.

Paraphrasing is an understanding and reflecting response that indicates that your intent is to understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

You see, listening interpretation is only about 25% accurate, which means 3 out of 4 times we have it a little bit off.

There are 3 main reasons why we paraphrase.  The first reason is to demonstrate that we do understand.  By saying something like, “I understand you are frustrated with the policy and process.”

The second reason we paraphrase is to show that we are trying to understand, by saying something like, “If I understand you correctly your thinking thispolicy and process is not working the way we hoped?”

The third reason we paraphrase is so people can hear what they’ve just said.  People think faster than they can talk and sometimes we need to “parrot” back the statement they just made.  By saying something like, “What I heard you say was….and often people will rephrase their own statements, and be more clear and accurate about their feelings and thinking.

Paraphrasing is an essential technique for understanding others and effectively listening.  Paraphrasing can save time, save relationships, and save money by preventing misunderstandings and mistakes.

The key to effective paraphrasing, is to listen closely, and whenever there is a chance for misunderstanding, reflect the thoughts and feelings of the other person to help clarify the conversation and enhance accuracy.

If you and your coworkers are struggling with really listening to each other, contact me at kit@welchlin.com and I will provide a speech, seminar, workshop, or a live virtual presentation, that will enhance listening skills and improve relationships.