Communications skill number one – paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is restating in your own words, the message you thought the speaker just said without adding anything new. You can
paraphrase both thoughts and/or feelings. A paraphrase may not always be accurate but by expressing the restatement of
what you heard, it gives the other person a chance to clarify and that can help minimize miscommunication. Because it’s not your normal way of responding, it may feel awkward at first. But the more often you paraphrase, as you gradually increase the frequency of use, you can begin to reap the benefits of this skill. Let’s look at when not to paraphrase. Mmmm. These fries looks so good. I love fries don’t you? Wait. You’re saying that you love fries? As you can see there was really no reason
to paraphrase such a simple statement. The fact of the matter is that it sounded
awkward and rudimentary. Now let’s look at when to paraphrase. What are you doing? Can’t you see they’re things to be done
around here? I feel like every time I want you to do something around here, you stick those earbuds in your ears and zone out. What? The clothes are piling up in the laundry room,
there’s no food left in the fridge oh, and your room’s a disaster. I know you’re in school but you know that I work all day and I don’t see you lifting a finger to help
around here. So you’re saying that you’re frustrated
because you’re working full-time and your overwhelmed. And you come home to a messy house. And you think that I should do a lot more. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Just start picking up after yourself. Maybe start a load a laundry or get a
part time job to help pay for some of the food. Since I’m paying for your tuition,
I don’t think that’s asking too much. I’m sorry mom. I’ll do better. I promise. You know, I really do appreciate everything that you do. I love you mom. I love you too sweetie. As you can see oftentimes our friends
and family can get long-winded. So if you stop and paraphrase it can
help to clarify their ideas before they move on.
In addition, the son’s paraphrase to the mother
indicated something very important – he was listening to her. Remember that paraphrasing can take a great deal of time. So if you’re in a hurry, don’t paraphrase a conversation that you
won’t be able to finish. And finally, be genuine.
And don’t overuse the paraphrase I’m Denise Besson-Silvia reminding you – don’t hesitate, communicate!