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Strength of paraphrase in interpersonal communication

The process of communication is what every person deals with on a daily basis. Can it be treated as an obvious process that does not need to be improved? It turns out not necessarily. There are numerous disruptions that cause parties involved in communication to not understand their mutual positions or views. To avoid this, it is worth using the technique of paraphrase.

What is a paraphrase?

In the process of interpersonal communication, you can use the procedure of repeating the sender’s words with your own. Interpretation of the information received is called a paraphrase, about which textbooks are written when discussing active listening. The very terminology itself indicates that the processing of the sender’s message gives the impression of carefully analyzing his messages and attempting to properly understand all the issues raised by him. Thanks to paraphrase, you can easily avoid any understatement or overinterpretation, thereby arousing the interlocutor’s sympathy and his respect. In addition, it allows you to remember the information you heard, as well as reduce barriers to attentive listening.

Why use it?

In addition to the already mentioned improvement in the relationship between the sender and recipient of the message, the paraphrase allows … to gain time. Sometimes it happens that by understanding the other side perfectly you don’t have an idea for a quick and proper answer. Thanks to the paraphrase, you can be sure of the correct reception of specific information and come up with a brilliant answer when formulating it. This technique also allows you to reduce tensions or crises. If the conversation is about uncomfortable topics, is too emotional and deviates from the main course, it is worth using a paraphrase. Saying the sender’s words in the right tone can restore peace and change the attitude of people involved in communication. Thanks to the paraphrase, ambiguities can also be corrected, creating an atmosphere of security and certainty regarding the issues raised.

How to master this art?

First of all, remember that listening is not an easy art. Limiting oneself to him during the interlocutor’s statement should be the basic principle of every communication process. You should avoid interrupting, prompting, imposing your views or determining the emotions of the sender, and none of these elements can appear in the paraphrase. This is to be only a transposition of previously heard words, helpful in achieving the objectives mentioned in the above paragraphs. This treatment can be started with the following phrases:

if I understood correctly, then …
did I understand correctly that …
you mean to say that …
(i.e.) in other words …

Their completion should be a paraphrase, after which you will receive confirmation or denial of the correct interpretation of the message. It is important not to go to the next stages of negotiation or conversation without the express consent of the sender. If instead you hear it “not quite as you say”, then you have to ask to repeat and clarify the previous information.

The ability to paraphrase heard messages is extremely useful not only on professional grounds, but also social. Using this technique brings many benefits, allowing not only mutual understanding of the parties involved in the communication process, but also calming emotions and creating a good impression on the interlocutor. It is important to paraphrase skillfully and naturally, which can be learned, for example, on professional courses and training in interpersonal communication.

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