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Benefits of Reflecting

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Reflecting > Benefits of Reflecting

Building rapport | Showing interests | Gaining information | Creating understanding | Giving ownership | See also

 

There are a number of benefits to reflecting back to a person what they have said in a conversation, not the least because it is like holding up a mirror so people can admire themselves (this time in their words).

Building rapport

When you reflect back to the other person what they have said, you are showing them not only that you have heard and understood them but that you are also interested in them and what they have to say.

This demonstrates connection with them, affirms their identity and hence increases bonding. We like people who are interested in us and who stroke our identity.

Showing interests

By selectively reflecting only those things in which you have a particular interest, you communicate your preferences and concerns to them.

This can help develop the conversation as, if they realize this, they will also talk more and question you more about these things, thus steering the conversation in the direction that is of interest to you both.

Gaining information

Reflecting information tends to get you more detail about the area reflected as the person picks up the cues you send them about your interests. Reflecting can thus be a subtle form of probing.

Creating understanding

When you reflect something back to a person they have to think again about it. In that internal musing that you create in them they may well increase their own understanding of what is being discussed. Likewise, when you paraphrase with different words, this new angle may also build understanding.

Giving ownership

Reflecting what is said can also help the other person take responsibility for what they are saying and about the topic in question.

Reflecting also helps the other person own their emotions, particularly when you reflect their emotions in a neutral way whereby they feel able to accept what has happened.

See also

Identity, Probing, Bonding principle

 

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