How to Paraphrase When Listening

March 16, 2021
2 Min Read
Photo by
Michael Irwin

According to Forbes, simply paraphrasing what you’ve heard ensures that you’re listening attentively. Believe it or not, paraphrasing is a form of active listening. It gives you the opportunity to absorb and express information in your own words and, ultimately, increase your understanding of the topic.

Reflect on how to paraphrase when listening

Learning how to paraphrase when listening is fundamental in developing and honing your communication skills. Start by simply taking a moment to reflect.

Would you consider paraphrasing a form of active listening?

Exercises to help you paraphrase when listening

Now, it's time to put your reflection into action. Finding opportunities to implement your communication skills can allow you to paraphrase when listening.

  • Use "I" statements when repeating information back to your team. Consider: “If I understand you correctly..." or “If I’m hearing you…”
  • Restate your version of the information given to you as opposed to saying it verbatim. Use synonyms, repeat key phrases, and break down ideas into digestible chunks.
  • Highlight the main takeaways and substantiate them with quotes to your speaker at the end of a meeting. Avoid nitpicking at minor details when relaying the information back.
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