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Paraphrasing

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Reflecting > Paraphrasing

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Repeat back what the other person has said, but in your own words. Capture within this the essence of what was said, showing your understanding in the words that you use.

Use paraphrasing to test your own understanding of what was said. Rephrase and then say 'Is that right?'

You can also use paraphrasing as a precursor to probing for more information.

Use paraphrasing to show that you understand what was said, and thus develop a relationship.

You can use it also in relationship development simply to show that you are interested in the other person and what they have to say.

Example

Other: I need to ask Michael to see what he thinks.
You: So before you can accept our offer, you want to check with Michael. Is that right? 

Other: We are going to leave town tonight and will be back in a week's time after we have visited our relatives.
You: So you'll be gone for a week, starting tonight. Will you be back on the Thursday or the Friday?

Discussion

When a person paraphrases what you have said back to you, it demonstrates that they have listened to you and also taken the time to think about what you have said and also to rephrase and test this. This requires significant effort and is generally flattering that another person has taken this interest in you and your thoughts. It is not surprising that 

Paraphrasing involves reflecting meaning, but not content.

See also

Parroting

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