1. Paraphrasing / restating the participant's comments
- Helps to clarify your understanding of what you heard
- Gives participant chance to clear up any misunderstandings
- Allows you to emphasize the point
- Conveys that you are actively listening
- Do not "parrot" back the comment word for word
- Condense the essence of the comment into a short phrase or sentence
- Make your comment as a statement of fact
- "So, you believe that..."
- "You think that..."
- "I get the impression you ..."
2. Clarifying comments
- To get a clearer definition/explanation of the comment
- To demonstrate active listening
- "Are you saying that...?"
- "Could you explain that more?"
- "I don't quite understand your point. Could you repeat it?"
- "Help me understand why you feel that way
- "What do you mean by the word (or your comment)?"
- "How did you come to that opinion / idea?"
3. Probing Questions
- To develop the quality of the answer
- To get participants to think through their responses
- To explore the rational e/reasoning behind comment
- "Can you be more specific?"
- "Why do you feel that way?"
- "Can you give me an example?"
- "Please explain that a little more
- "What do you think about that?"
- "How do you feel about that?"
- "Tell me more about that "
4. Reflecting Feelings
- To "check out" your perceptions
- To stimulate discussions about feelings / reactions
- "You're looking a little (feeling word)."
- "You seem _____."
- "Are you feeling _____?"
- "Kinda _____?"
- "Do you feel _____?"
- "It seems by your (nonverbal behavior) that you may be feeling _____."
Kathy Obear is a diversity trainer and consultant based in Amherst, Massachusetts (413) 283-2503.