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Listen better by restating what’s been said

Here’s the next tip on how to be a better listener:  Restate the key points of the conversation throughout the conversation. Say back to them what they just said. Like this:

“So let me get this straight, Mr. Customer. All right, let me see if I’ve got this right. Let me see if I can put us on the same page. All right, let me give you a snapshot of what I heard. All right, let me make sure that, bottom line, this is what you said. All right, before I go forward here, let me make sure I got this right.”

Toward the end, to make sure that you’re listening all the way through the conversation, restate the action items, the things that you’re going to do, and the things that they’re going to do.
And when you’re doing that, include the level of importance of each one of those action items for both the customer and you. “So the hottest item here, Mr. Customer, is this. Let me make sure I can correct it here.”

You restate the key points that I heard throughout our conversation, the key things that we said that we’re going to do. And this draws upon all of the listening tips we’ve covered so far. How are you going to restate what’s been said unless you are:

  • Thinking on paper
  • Listen from the first word
  • Listening with the intent to understand
  • Listening with the intent to add value
  • Shutting off the internal dialogue going on in your head.

Steven Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind,” knowing that at the end, I’ve got to restate the key points of our conversation. I’ve got to restate the action items that are going to be necessary from this conversation, and the level of importance of each one of those.

If I know I’ve got to do that going in and I start to develop that habit in my conversation, I can’t help but do a better job listening.


Photo by chadmagiera, via Creative Commons 2.0