Parroting? Not!

Subject: Parroting? Not!
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 14:41:23 -0500

Several folks have mentioned the value of "parroting", but I'll step in as
word geek and point out that this isn't the word we're looking for. Parrots
blindly repeat words with little or no evidence that they have any idea what
they're saying. That's hardly a way to gain the respect of an SME; parrot
back their words and they'll eventually start feeding you crackers rather
than useful information.

What actually works is _paraphrasing_. This tells the speaker that you've
listened to them, tried to understand their words, and want them to confirm
that you've actually understood those words. Making that effort provides the
human connection and works the magic: you're treating the speaker as someone
whose opinions matter, and doing them that honor breaks down all kinds of
barriers. On the job and off.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
FERIC, 580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Quebec
H9R 3J9
"Writing, in a way, is listening to the others' language and reading with
the others' eyes."--Trinh T. Minh-Ha, _Woman native other_

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