How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Echo questions repeat what they have said back to them, in the form of a question.
If they ask a question, you can ask it straight back by repeating what they said and leaving either a verbal prompt to reply or a silence at the end of your question.
Them: Can we go out?
Statements or parts of sentences may be echoed back as a question, showing your interest and seeking more information about this.
Them: I think we should go out tonight and have dinner at
Echo questions are a good way of bouncing back a question to the other person. By reflecting their words to them, you are avoiding adding any of your bias. Their words are familiar to them and should make sense and their answer should let you know what that sense is.
This is particularly useful when a tactical game of some sort is being played, such as when it seems they already have an answer and are checking to see if you agree with them. The method is also helpful when you do not want to answer the question for some reason.
Echo questions are also useful for probing, picking out a part of what they say and seeking more information. You can provide focus in this by putting emphasis on key words about which you seek a response.