Repeated Listening

Too often people disregard the need to show their conversational partner that their message has been comprehended. Or they only listen with half-hearted focus, also devoting attention to formulating a response... Using the mirroring technique during conversation by sending a feedback signal to your companion both lets them know they are being heard and shows that you are sincerely interested in their words. You do this by ensuring that you have heard those words correctly. Simply by saying, "What I heard you say is..." or repeating their statement but worded as a question, you emphasize partnership and remain centered within the conversation. If your original assessment is incorrect, you can then ask for clarification.

Practicing the mirroring technique teaches you how to really listen and experience the speaker's thoughts and feelings within the context of their perspective, even during tense or emotionally difficult conversations. Showing your comprehension of each individual point your partner has made helps you to devote your full attention to what is being communicated and proves to the speaker that his or her words are not going unheeded. In doing this, you put aside your own reactions until it is your turn to speak and to move past the word level of listening to the essence level.

Mirroring should take place in a comfortable, neutral setting, wherein both speakers will be able to feel accepted and free to express their feelings. The benefits come from focusing on comprehending the meaning of what has been said rather than indulging in expectations, relying on the unspoken, or hoping you have understood. Instead, the result is a nearly perfect understanding of your partner's viewpoint.

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